A Living Will is a term used for an Advanced Medical Decision. It is a written statement setting out your wishes in relation to medical treatment should you become terminally ill or incapacitated.
A Living Will is neither a right to life nor a right to die but a right to choose. An advanced direction can only be used to refuse a treatment and not to ask for a specific treatment. It cannot be used to ask for a procedure that is unlawful.
Advance directions now have a legal status under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Health Care Professionals must follow such an advance direction if it is valid and applicable to the situation. It is important therefore that your GP or treating Health Practitioner is aware of the existence of your Living Will.
Living Wills are more generally used when there is knowledge of a critical illness. A Living Will can help someone to prepare for the pending treatment of that condition.
Health and Welfare Attorneys
Where someone is looking generally at preparing for when they are older and considering putting something in place to cover welfare situations that may arise in the future, then it is appropriate to consider making a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney to appoint someone to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf should you lose mental capacity.
Situations that may give rise to a need for a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare include:
- Where couples are not married or in a registered civil relationship but wish their partner to be the point of contact for welfare decisions
- Where there is no family
- Where a non-family member is their preferred choice
- Where there is a mental health issue such as bi-polar that can come and go
- Where one spouse is well and one spouse is in need of care and there is a dispute between the well spouse and social services
- Where people want to make an advance directive - you can make a Living Will at the same time.
For a consultation with a specialist Wills, Probate, Tax or Trusts Lawyer please call Holdens on 01524 32484 or contact us online.