Advance Care Directives have replaced Enduring Powers of Guardianship, Medical Powers of Attorney and Anticipatory Directions. While your Enduring Power of Guardianship may still be valid, an Advance Care Directive allows you to set out in detail your wishes regarding future healthcare and lifestyle decisions, such as preferred living arrangements. It also enables you to set out legally binding refusals of healthcare.
An Advance Care Directive enables you to appoint someone (often your loved one) as your Substitute Decision Maker to make these decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make them yourself. Therefore, being able to make legally binding decisions now regarding your healthcare enables you to provide instructions for your loved ones to follow in what often is a traumatic and emotional time for them.
You may for example, include in your Advance Care Directive, to not be kept alive on life support or to be resuscitated in certain circumstances. Should this occur, these directions are then followed through by your Substitute Decision Maker, giving both yourself and them peace of mind. It may also reduce the possibility of conflict between family members as you have appointed a particular person to carry out your wishes.
While an Advance Care Directive deals with your binding refusals of healthcare, accommodation and lifestyle issues, it does not cover your financial and legal issues. Should you wish to have someone act on your behalf regarding issues of a financial and legal nature, you would need to implement a Power of Attorney.
Given the importance of an Advance Care Directive we recommend that you seek experienced and professional advice. We also recommend that you review your current Power of Guardianship (if you have one) and consider updating it to an Advance Care Directive.
Our Wills and Estate Planning solicitors can assist you with the preparation of your Advance Care Directive (and Power of Attorney) – including drafting the document in accordance with your wishes, appointing your Substitute Decision Makers in the right manner and duly executing the document to ensure it is a valid document.
Contact us for further information or to make an appointment with one of our experienced Wills & Estates solicitors.