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Advance Decisions (Living Wills) and LPAs – what’s the difference?

You are here: Home » Making decisions and planning your care » Planning ahead and making my treatment and care wishes known » Advance Decisions (Living Wills) and LPAs – what’s the difference?

This section explains the differences between Advance Decisions (Living Will) and Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare. It’s for people living in England and Wales.

There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA):

  • An LPA for Property and Financial Affairs covers decisions about money and property.
  • An LPA for Health and Welfare covers decisions about health and personal welfare.

This information is only about the LPA for Health and Welfare.

In this section:


More information

If you live in Scotland, read our information about Advance Directives or Welfare Power of Attorney. If you live in Northern Ireland, please see our information about planning ahead here.


Miss Hart's story

Miss Hart appointed her brother, George, to be her Attorney for health and welfare. A few weeks later she also made an Advance Decision to refuse resuscitation if she had a heart attack, as she was worried that George would not be able to go through with making this decision for her. If she becomes ill in the future, the doctor will follow George’s decisions in almost all circumstances because he is her Attorney. However, if she has a heart attack, they will follow her Advance Decision because this was made more recently. George cannot tell the doctor not to follow his sister’s Advance Decision.

If Miss Hart had appointed George to be her Attorney AFTER making her Advance Decision, and she had given him the power to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment, he would have the power to tell the doctor not to follow her Advance Decision.