Living Wills / Advanced Medical Directives
What is a Living Will:
An Advanced Medical Directive, also know as a Living Will, allows an individual to state clearly which treatments they would or would not wish to receive should they become seriously ill in the future due to illness, accident etc and were unable to participate in decisions on their treatment and care. If an Advanced Medical Directive is made you are asking the relevant medical professionals not to give you certain medical treatments. The statement, which can be written or verbal, is known legally as an 'advance decision to refuse treatment'.
What is the legal standing of these documents:
Advance decisions to refuse treatment are covered by the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which became part of law in April 2007, and are strongly supported by the BMA.
According to the official government website, by law, a valid advance decision refusing life-saving treatment means the individual concerned can't be treated. If a doctor did treat the person, legal action might be taken against them.
How do they differ from a standard Will and lasting powers of attorney:
A standard Will deals with an individuals' estate and affairs after their death - an Advanced Medical Directive refers to certain medical treatment whilst the person is still alive.
Lasting powers of attorney generally pass on full decision making and signing powers to one or more attorneys, who will act in a persons best interests should they ever lose the capacity to manage their own affairs. An Advanced Medical Directive sets out an individuals wishes in respect of specific areas and medical treatments.
Why have an Advanced Medical Directive:
A main benefit of having an Advanced Medical Directive in place is to ensure a persons close family / friends are clear on their wishes and are not left to make what can be a very difficult decisions on their behalf without knowing their feelings.
Help and Advice:
Should you have any questions or require help with reviewing your Will, Ethical Investors Group have developed a relationship with Assurewills Limited, a dedicated Will writing and estate planning company, who we are delighted to recommend. Michael Clarkson at Assurewills can be contacted as follows:
Tele: 01223 967477