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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










What should I include in my Advance Decision?

The wording that you put into an Advance Decision must demonstrate that you contemplated the potential circumstances where medical treatment is necessary, but you are unable to communicate your wishes at that time.

It is crucial to display that you have thoroughly considered the possible situations you could encounter and what type of medical treatment might be available to you.

Subsequently, you must outline the specific treatments you would consent to receive in those circumstances and the type of treatment you would not want.

Our experienced team can help you with all aspects of Advance Decisions to ensure that your wishes are considered when you can no longer express them for yourself. We can also help guide you through the process of setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, which in some circumstances, can be used as an alternative to an Advance Decision.










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.










Get in Touch with Our Lifetime Planning Solicitors

We aim to provide personal, individual legal services in a clear and friendly way without compromising the quality of advice. We do this by combining highly qualified and experienced solicitors with carefully selected support staff.

Contact us to speak to one of our experienced elderly client team for friendly, clear and, above all, practical advice regarding making an advance decision. Please call our team on 01630 652405 or visit: meet the team.


This information refers to the law of England & Wales only, which from time to time changes. In particular, tax information changes annually. It is not a substitute for professional advice, which is up to date and specific to your needs. This information is a summary of the provisions relating to advance decisions and cannot cover every aspect of their operation. It represents our understanding of current legislation in England and Wales but should not be relied upon as an authoritative statement of law nor as constituting advice. We would advise that legal advice be sought in every circumstance.

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91 Cheshire Street, Market Drayton, Shropshire TF9 3AF | Email us | Call us 01630 652 405

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© 2018 Onions & Davies. Onions & Davies Solicitors is the trading name of Onions & Davies Ltd, Company Reg. No. 8322297, Registered Office address: 91 Cheshire Street, Market Drayton, Shropshire, TF9 3AF. Onions & Davies is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA ID Number: 607617)