Living Wills and Advance Directives
A Living Will is the commonly used term for a document covering a decision in relation to medical treatment which you make in advance, in case you do not have the mental capacity to make the decision at the appropriate time. It is not legally enforceable, but should be taken into account by the people looking after you as part of any decision concerning your treatment.
An Advance Directive is a legally binding document that allows you to specify particular kinds of treatment that you don't want, in case you lack the capacity to make the decision at the appropriate time. It cannot force a particular course of treatment nor refuse measures designed to provide comfort. Healthcare professionals should follow a valid Advance Directive unless it does not cover the proposed treatment or it is reasonably believed that circumstances have changed which would have affected the decision had they been anticipated.
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Some of the issues might be better handled using a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, which lets people you have chosen (your Attorneys) make decisions when you can no longer do so, about such matters as consent to or refusal of medical treatment, staying at home with appropriate support or moving into a care home, and day-to-day issues like diet, dress or routine. You can provide guidance to your Attorneys in the document. These documents have to follow a specific format and need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. We can assist with the entire process.
Your Solicitor can discuss your aims and advise appropriately on which document meets your needs.