In our weekly legal column, the Leader, with the expert advice of the team at GHP Legal, sets out to answer some of your problems. Today's question is answered by solicitor Tom Rimmington...

How does an Advance Directive differ from a Health & Welfare LPA?

Q: Following the recent death of my sister who had a severe stroke and lived out the remainder of her days being kept alive rather than 'living', I want to ensure that my own life ends with more dignity and less suffering. With this in mind, please can you explain the difference between an Advance Directive and an LPA for Health & Welfare? And should I make both?

A: Firstly, it is worth pointing out that an Advance Directive is also known as a Living Will or Advance Decision. Both an Advance Directive and a Health & Welfare LPA must be made whilst you have capacity, the main difference is that the former identifies certain medical treatment that should not be undertaken if you lose capacity, for example, a blood transfusion or CPR. In the case of the latter, it is your attorney who decides how you are looked after, such as where you are to live and your medical treatment.

Whichever you choose it is wise to discuss your decision with your loved ones and/or Attorney(s), so that if the time comes they will ensure your instructions are carried out. It is also important to provide your doctor and your loved ones with copies of these documents, so they are aware of your wishes.

The Advance Directive requires less formality in setting it up as it is like a letter. The LPA has to be drawn up in a certain way and is like a deed and cannot be used until it has been registered with the Court of Protection.

Talking through things with a solicitor will help you decide the most appropriate course of action for you to take and give you peace of mind.

This question has been answered by Tom Rimmington, a solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194.