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Advance Care Directives

An Advance Care Directive empowers you to make clear legal arrangements for your future health care, end of life wishes, preferred living arrangements and other personal matters. It replaces Enduring Powers of Guardianship, Medical Powers of Attorney and Anticipatory Directions with a single Advance Care Directive Form.

An Advance Care Directive allows a person to:

  • set out values and wishes to guide decisions about their future healthcare and other personal matters;
  • set out what, if any, particular healthcare they refuse and in what circumstances; and
  • appoint one or more substitute decision-makers.

Expert legal advice provides peace of mind

Given the importance of an Advance Care Directive it is highly advisable to seek out experienced and professional advice.

A Scammell & Co. Wills and Estate Planning solicitor can assist you with the preparation of your Advance Care Directive – including the precise wording to adopt to give effect to your wishes, and in the signing process by acting as an authorised witness.

Scammell & Co. offers fixed-fees for standard Wills, Powers of Attorney and Advance Care Directives with discounts offered on combinations of these. Discounts are also available to seniors and concession card holders.

Scammell & Co. have 6 offices located throughout South Australia including Adelaide CBD, Port Adelaide, Walkerville, Gawler, Renmark and Tanunda. Call or email us today to speak with a highly experienced Wills and Estate Planning solicitor about your matter, or to book an appointment at an office convenient to you.

FAQs

Click on the questions below to reveal the answer:

What is an Advance Care Directive?

An Advance Care Directive form is a legally binding document that expresses a person’s wishes and / or directions in the event that decision making is impaired or lost in the future. Only people over 18 years of age can make an Advance Care Directive.

For an Advance Care Directive form to be legally valid it must be in the correct form and the person making it must have the mental capacity to understand its nature and effect and the consequences of completing and signing the document. This must be done without any coercion, pressure, or influence by others.

Why should I make an Advance Care Directive?

Making an Advance Care Directive is a way of planning ahead and ensuring that your wishes are followed and that someone, who you know and trust, can legally look after your day-to-day care needs and lifestyle choices, if you are unable to do so.

What happens if you do not have an Advance Care Directive?

If you have impaired decision making capacity and do not have an Advance Care Directive form then the SACAT Tribunal will decide who can make your medical, personal and social decisions as well as decide where you live.

This may not be the person or persons who you would want to make the decisions for you. (This only applies if there is no Power of Attorney or not an Advance Care Directive.

Advance Care Directive information

An Advance Care Directive form allows a person to:

  • Set out values and wishes to guide decisions about their future healthcare and other personal matters.
  • Set out what, if any, particular healthcare they refuse and in what circumstances, and appoint one or more substitute decision-makers.
  • Refuse particular healthcare (whether express or implied) – this is a binding provision.
    • You can set out in when and under what circumstances the provision will be taken to be a binding provision.
    • All other provisions of an Advance Care Directive are non-binding provisions.
  • It replaces:
    • Enduring Powers of Guardianship.
    • Anticipatory Directives.
    • Medical Powers of Attorney.
  • Any Power of Guardianship executed before 1 July 2014 will be taken to be an Advance Care Directive under the Advance Care Directives Act 2013 (S.A.)
  • Any Directive or Medical Power of Attorney given before 1 July 2014 will be taken to be an Advance Care Directive under the Advance Care Directives Act 2013 (S.A.)

When does my Advance Care Directive come into effect?

As soon as it is signed by you and witnessed by an authorised person BUT can only be used by a substitute decision maker or health practitioner if the person who gave the advance care directive has impaired decision making capacity.

What is an Advance Care Directive?

An Advance Care Directive empowers you to make clear legal arrangements for your future health care, end of life, preferred living arrangements and other personal matters. It replaces Enduring Powers of Guardianship, Medical Powers of Attorney and Anticipatory Directions with a single Advance Care Directive Form.

An Advance Care Directive allows you to:

  • Write down your wishes, preferences and instructions for your future health care, end of life, living arrangements, personal matters and/or
  • Appoint one or more Substitute Decision-Makers to make these decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so in the future.

A Substitute Decision-Maker is an adult you choose and appoint in your Advance Care Directive to make decisions about your future health care, end of life, living arrangements and other personal matters when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself, whether for a short time only or permanently. The Substitute Decision-Maker(s) must sign the Form and accept their role.

Why should I complete an Advance Care Directive?

At some point in your life, there may come a time when you may be unable to make your own decisions. It could be because:

  • of a sudden accident or serious mental health episode
  • of dementia or similar condition
  • of a sudden serious stroke
  • you are unconscious or in a coma

If this happened, how would you want decisions to be made for you about your health care, living arrangements and other personal matters? More importantly, who would you want making these decisions for you? An Advance Care Directive makes it easy for others to know what your wishes are when you are unable to make these decisions yourself. It also gives you peace of mind to know that your wishes will be known and can be respected, if others need to make decisions for you.

What the Advance Care Directive is not

An Advance Care Directive is not a Will. It also cannot be used to make financial or legal decisions. It is recommended you think about putting in place an Enduring Power of Attorney to make decisions about your future finances and legal matters.

When will my Advance Care Directive come into effect?

Your Advance Care Directive only takes effect (can only be used) when you are unable to make your own decisions. You can make your own decision if you can:

  • understand information about the decision
  • understand and appreciate the risks and benefits of the choices
  • remember the information for a short time
  • tell someone what the decision is, and why you have made the decision

If, in the future you are unable to do these four things, it means you are unable to make the decision and someone else will need to make the decision for you.

What if I have other documents in place?

If you already have a valid Enduring Power of Guardianship, a Medical Power of Attorney or an Anticipatory Direction and they still conform with your wishes, these are still legally effective unless you complete an Advance Care Directive Form.

Who can have an Advance Care Directive?

You can put an Advance Care Directive in place at any stage of life – whether you are a young adult, middle aged or a senior person, and whether you are perfectly healthy or unwell.

To have an Advance Care Directive: 

  • it must be your choice (not someone elses)
  • it must be on the approved form
  • you must be 18 years of age or over
  • you must understand what an Advance Care Directive is
  • you must know what it will be used for
  • you must know when it will be used

What about end of life decisions?

You are able to make binding refusals of certain health care in your Advance Care Directive. This includes refusals of life sustaining measures should you ever be in a persistent vegetative state or in the terminal phase of a terminal illness.

What if I don't have an Advance Care Directive?

Certain people may still make decisions in relation to your health care if you lose the ability to do so yourself, but may argue over who makes decisions for you if they do not know your wishes. This might not necessarily include family members. An Advance Care Directive formally records your wishes and allows you to avoid arguments amongst your family members as to who has priority to make decisions on your behalf.

Free legal advice.

If you have some questions, want some advice or want to get the process underway, contact Scammell & Co. to arrange a meeting. In many cases (not all) the first 30 minutes of your first meeting is free. This can give time to outline your matter and for us to give you preliminary advice.
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