Creating a Living Will
When thinking about the future, it is important to consider what you would like to happen regarding any future medical treatment if you ever become unable to communicate your wishes.
Living wills enable you to retain a certain amount of control over what will happen to you and allow you to refuse medical treatment in advance.
For the peace of mind you are looking for, contact us today for specialist legal advice.
What is a living will?
A living will or advance directive is legally termed an advance decision to refuse treatment (ADRT). It is a legally binding statement detailing any treatments that you do not wish to receive in the future, including those that could potentially keep you alive such as:
- Life Support
The specific circumstances in which you want to refuse these treatments need to be made clear, which is why it is best to take legal advice along with guidance from your doctor.
A living will only becomes applicable if you become seriously ill and no longer have the capacity to communicate your wishes.
Reasons to make a living will
If you have been diagnosed with a degenerative or terminal illness or simply want to plan ahead, creating a living will provides you with the opportunity to make known the treatments that you don’t want to receive in the later stages of your life.
Making a living will gives you the time to consider and discuss exactly what you want from your end of life care so you can make absolutely certain that you are treated with the dignity and respect that you deserve.
You will be assured that your loved ones and medical professionals understand what you want to happen and it will help to avoid any potential disagreements between your family and medical team about the best course of action for you.
Without a living will in place, if you lack the capacity to make a decision, your medical team will decide on a plan for your care and treatment. Although they will always act in your best interests their course of action may not be what you would want so it is important that you make your wishes known.
How to make a living will
It is important to first discuss your intentions with a healthcare professional who understands your medical history and who can help you come to an informed decision about which treatments you wish to refuse and in which situations.
For a living will to be valid you must:
- Be over the age of 18.
- Be of sound mind.
- Write it down.
- Record the details of all the treatments you wish to refuse.
- Detail clearly the specific circumstances in which you want to refuse each treatment.
- Include a statement that the advance decision applies even if your life is at risk.
- Have made the advance decision by yourself with no coercion from anyone else.
- Sign it.
- Have it signed by a witness.
- Understand a living will can be withdrawn at any time if you change your mind about any aspect of your future treatment.
It is important that your loved ones are aware of your living will and know where to find it and also to have it clearly detailed in your medical records.
Living wills are often created at the same time as appointing a lasting power of attorney, to give you peace of mind that those you trust will be able to manage your affairs on your behalf should you ever become unable to do so yourself. We can provide advice on all aspects of appointing a power of attorney and can draw up the necessary legal documentation alongside your living will.
At Clifford Johnston & Co. you will find our team friendly, helpful and ready to listen. We will be sensitive to your circumstances and will treat you with understanding at all times. Our trusted team of solicitors have the expertise to advise upon and draft your living will to ensure that your interests are protected in the future.
To enquire about making a living will, call our Wills & Probate Solicitors in Manchester or Stockport and discuss your needs in confidence today.