Advance Decisions – Living Wills
The full name of an Advance Decision (also known as a Living Will) is an Advance Decision to Refuse Consent to Medical Treatment. It is a legal document that enables you to set out in advance what medical treatment you would or would not wish to receive if you are ever in a position where you are unable to make that decision at the time.
An Advance Decision is a very specific legal document governed by a complex area of law, so it is essential to obtain specialist legal guidance before making an Advance Decision to ensure it is well drafted in order to be effective.
At Onions & Davies, our estate planning and elderly client team can help clients with this sensitive area of law.
How do you make an Advance Decision?
As with many legal documents, you can make an Advance Decision yourself, but, to ensure that it is made correctly and will be valid, we advise you to instruct a regulated solicitor with expertise in this area of law who will talk through the process with you. It is also important to note that under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Advance Decisions are recognised as the only form of ‘living will’ that is legally binding. If you made a living will before the Mental Capacity Act came into force, it will not be legally binding in the same way. Therefore, you should update your living will to an Advance Decision.
At Onions & Davies, we have extensive experience and expertise in drafting Advance Decisions and the type of wording that will be accepted when the time comes for them to be used. We can guide you through the process and would be happy to help you draw up an Advance Decision that matches your needs and situation to ensure your wishes are met.
Getting advice early on can put your mind at ease. If you are looking for advice on drafting an Advance Decision, please get in touch with our specialist elderly client solicitors for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I Need to Get a Medical Opinion?
As with making Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, and other legal documents, you must be mentally capable of understanding what you are doing for the document to be valid. However, you do not have to involve a medical practitioner in the process of making an Advance Decision.
We would always recommend that you inform your GP that you have made an Advance Decision. One way of doing this would be for you to ask if they would be happy to act as your witness when you sign the document. However, they do not need to do this for the document to be valid.
We also recommend that you provide a copy of your Advance Decision for your GP to keep with your medical notes as well as inform all those closest to you that you have made one.
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