An Advance Decision or Living Will ensures personal or religious beliefs are respected, your dignity preserved, and important decisions about medical treatments you do not want to have are made while you’re still capable of making them. Essentially, it also helps make tough calls less fraught for family and friends. The tragic case of Paul Briggs serves as a reminder that an Advance Decisions should be discussed at any age and irrespective of health.
Advance Decisions – My Living Will
At Steeles Law we recommend that you consider an Advance Decision as it can help your family, friends, and the medical profession with difficult decisions about medical treatment, as they will know what your wishes are. Often we find people delay making an Advance Decision but the benefit of making one now is that if at some time in the future you are physically or mentally unable to tell your doctors what you want, your wishes are already clear.
Experienced, approachable, and always empathetic, we can guide you through the entire process. For a fixed fee, we can take your instructions, draft the document, supervise your signature, and advise you on the best next steps. For ease, our experienced practitioners have put together common questions raised by clients on the subject.
Q1. Do I need an Advance Decision (Living Will)?
An Advance Decision (often known as a ‘Living Will’ or ‘advance refusal’) is a written statement allowing you to indicate your wishes in the event of terminal illness, mental incapacity or permanent unconsciousness and spares your family the anguish of making life-changing decisions on your behalf.
Q2. What is the difference between an Advance Decision (Living Will) and a Health and Welfare Lasting Attorney?
Of course, there are alternatives to making an Advance Decision and one alternative would be to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Personal Welfare. Where advance decisions or living will can only detail your wishes for medical treatment, a health and welfare LPA include your wishes and authority to make all your medical and welfare matters.
Q3. What is the difference between Living Will and a Will?
Your Living Will is the document that gives instructions about what medical treatment you wish to receive. A Will takes effect upon death and sets out who your money and property (your estate) will pass to after your death.
Plan for peace of mind, next steps…
When you have made your decision, we can prepare the document according to your wishes. Having completed your Advance Decision, you must ensure that your closest relatives and GP know of its existence and where it is kept. You should ask your GP to add a copy of the Advance Decision to your medical records so that if at a later stage you require treatment, it will be easily and immediately accessible to the doctors caring for you.