MONEY MATTERS: Health, wealth and happiness?

With Ray L Best

If you had to pick two of the above three, I believe that most people would choose to be healthy and happy but not necessarily wealthy.

We all know what it is to be healthy, we can imagine what it is to be wealthy, but happiness is more subjective, as one person’s idea of happiness may be quite different to someone else’s.

A recent survey concluded that pet owners are happier and more content than the average person, unless their pet falls ill – then they become stressed and the stress increases if their pet is terminally ill.

They may have to choose between continuing to pay for treatment of the pet or to have it put down.

The pet’s owner will make critical decisions on their behalf.

Who is going to make critical decisions with regard your health and welfare when you cannot?

An LPA for Health and Welfare will do exactly this.

It provides legal power for one or more people to do just that.

It only comes into force when you cannot make decisions for yourself.

There have been considerable improvements in medical care that may result in health improvements leading to a fuller longer life, but also may also result in a prolonged and painful period with little quality of life.

If you end up in hospital and are seriously ill, you may be unable to communicate, so the hospital may be forced to choose how to treat you.

You may, out of choice, prefer your trusted friends or family to make decisions on your treatment on your behalf.

And if it’s terminal, isn’t it far better that you decide how you want to be treated. This can be done by using an Advance Directive.

What would happen if you didn’t have an Advance Directive & Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

You are at a high risk of having strangers make decisions for you on your behalf. And your family and friends would have no power to stop them!

You may be resuscitated against your wishes.

Only your legal next of kin would be consulted.

Social Services could make decisions about where you live and the care you require and receive.

The Court of Protection may have to become involved with decision making which can be very expensive and take months.

None of us know what the future holds for us.

PC Briggs didn’t. He was a traffic policeman on Merseyside who was knocked off his bike by a learner driver and suffered severe head injuries.

Very quickly he became vegetative. So much so that his daughter said that she didn’t want to visit him in hospital as he wasn’t her Daddy any more.

PC Briggs could not make any decisions. Neither could his wife because the NHS Trust took control as he did not have any LPAs.

It took 18 months of legal debate and costs – not to mention the anguish to his wife and his family – before the Trust was told to turn off the machine that was keeping him artificially alive.

The important documents we have mentioned are deceptively simple to complete.

For complete peace of mind, contact a member of our specialist team today.

When is the best time to arrange for your LPA Health and Welfare and Advance Directive to be drawn up – when you are fit and well and don’t need them.

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