May 7, 2021
A Living Will (sometimes known as an Advance Decision or Advance Directive) is a way of planning for what life may have in store.
As with many of the arrangements, such as standard Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, that can be put in place during a person’s lifetime, a Living Will sets out certain wishes for the future. It covers a situation in which a person becomes unable to make or communicate significant decisions about their healthcare. It is a way of letting medical professionals know that the person they are caring for does not want certain steps to be taken in particular circumstances. For example, someone may be adamant that if at some point in their life they were to become terminally ill and non-communicative, they wouldn’t want to be resuscitated.
A Living Will that has been properly prepared is legally binding, and so it’s vital not just to get the formalities right but also to make sure you are completely sure that the wishes it sets out are those you want to be carried through. If you change your mind at any point after having made your Living Will, you should revisit it. Your solicitor will be able to amend the document for you, or even see that it’s revoked entirely. The key point is to keep your Living Will under review to make sure it continues to reflect your wishes.
As well as helping clients get these documents in place, we help them think about the bigger picture; their health situation and prognosis (it’s useful to consult with the medical professional responsible for your care), and also the effect the Living Will could have on your family. Finding out that a loved one holds strong views about not wanting to receive life-saving treatment can come as a shock. It can therefore be wise to speak with family members and to explain why you have made the decisions you have. This will be another opportunity for you to make sure that you are doing the right thing.
Ultimately, a Living Will can bring peace of mind. It means you retain some control over your future medical care, should major decisions need to be made. It could also mean your family may be spared the incredibly difficult situation in which they have to be involved in making the call on the interventions or non-interventions that would be in your best interests.
To find out more about making a Living Will, please contact our Private Client Team on 01264 353411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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