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SASH_Law, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4647
Experience:  LLB (Hons)
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What rights do common law partners have in medical

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What rights do common law partners have in medical decisions
JA: What steps have been taken? Have any papers been filed in family court?
Customer: No papers. Sister is agreeing to potentially stop life support. Partner does not agree.
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county does she live in?
Customer: Manchester
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not that I can think of

Hi, I'm Lea and I have reviewed your query.

Who is on the life support and what are the relationship to that person of your sister and the partner?

Please bear in mind this is an email service and not a live chat so responses may not be instantaneous. I am not available for calls, but in all cases it is very likely you can be helped online.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My mums partner 60 year old man with some liver disease. His sister is saying to not continue care if there is no change and if the doctors say I stop that's fine. But we haven't been given any test results, no brain function tests either. He went to hospital with encephalitis, pleurisy, and is on dialysis, his liver has failed and his kidneys and spleen are not working well at all. His heart seems strong and they are draining any fluids they can. This is only day 3 today and we are being called in to discuss things apparently tomorrow and I need to know if my mum has any rights. They've been together nearly 20 years and living together for at least 6. He does have an alcohol problem though.

Has he specified who he wants as his next of kin?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok great
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No he hasn't. The sister has just kind of taken over
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a way we can find out if he has done a power of attorney or living will?

If he had done a power of attorney your mother would know about that means he has given power of his affairs to someone. If he has a do not resuscitate, the hospital will (should) have a copy of that.

In the absence of a power of attorney specifically naming someone to deal with his affairs and make medical decisions for him, and in the absence of him having named your mother on his medical records as his next of kin, then his sister (if she is his closest living relative) is his next of kin.

Your mum might want to check with the GP to see if her partner put her down on their records as next of kin.

Realistically, given the lengthy relationship between your mum and her partner, the sister should show some compassion and share any decision making.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
realistically if she is not down as next of kin she doesn't have legal rights just what his sister allows?

Not exactly - next of kin isn't specifically defined in law, but in reality it is usually the next closest relative, e.g. a mother to a child...but as it isn't specifically defined in law, there's no real reason your mum should not be able to act as next of kin, particularly in light of her lengthy relationship with her partner. Most hospitals try to be flexible and compassionate about this.

Was her partner conscious when he was brought into hospital? Many hospitals ask who your next of kin is when you are admitted to the hospital.

Can I assist any further?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He was but we don't know what he said unfortunately and he was sedated quite quickly.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No thank you. You have been a lot of help. Thank you

Your mum can ask the hospital to check - if he did have the opportunity to do that he probably did name your mum.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks again

You're very welcome.

I hope things turn out well and that he recovers.

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