An Advance Decision (also known as a Living Will) is a legally binding expression of wishes which regards the medical treatment you may wish to refuse in the event that you lose the mental capacity to make your own medical decisions.
Advance Decisions will only be legally binding if certain conditions are met:
- The person making the decision has the mental capacity to do so;
- The person making the decision is over the age of 18;
- The person clearly specifies the treatment which they would wish to refuse;
- The circumstances when this treatment should be refused are clearly specified;
- If the Advance Decision is to refuse lifesaving treatment, then it must be made in writing, signed and witnessed.
Advance Decisions only take effect once the person has lost capacity, and only if they comply with the above. If the Advance Decision is not compliant then it could be disregarded by the treating clinicians.
Advance Decisions can be withdrawn or altered at any point before capacity is lost, as long as any new Advance Decision also complies with the above requirements.
Advance Decisions cannot be used for any of the following:
- To ask for anything that is illegal for example, euthanasia;
- To demand care that your doctor considers inappropriate for your circumstances;
- To refuse the offer of food and drink by mouth;
- To refuse palliative and basic nursing care such as providing pain relief and bathing.
Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health & Welfare can also be utilised to give your Attorney the ability to accept or refuse life sustaining treatment on your behalf. If there is any conflict between a Lasting Power of Attorney and Advance Decision, the most recent document will be the one which takes precedence.
Both Advance Decisions and Lasting Powers of Attorney are methods of expressing how you wish to be medically treated in the event that you lose mental capacity to make these important decisions in the future, and it is therefore important to ensure that you obtain professional advice if you are uncertain of your position.
How can SAS Daniels help with Advance Decisions?
Our specialist team take the time to understand what you wish to achieve and provide bespoke advice to help you see the best way forward. We will take into consideration any existing Lasting Powers of Attorney to make sure there is no potential conflict and to ensure that your Advance Decision is legally binding.
We also ensure our team are easily accessible. You can visit us in either of our four offices in Stockport, Macclesfield, Chester or Congleton, whichever is easiest for you. If you are home bound or in hospital and can’t make it in to one of the offices, we will come to you.
If you would like to speak to a member of the team for further advice or if you have a query relating to Advance Decisions, please contact our team.