Launch of Online Tool: My Living Will
A new online tool has recently been launched to help individuals understand and take decisions about their care towards the end of their lives. "My Living Will" is a project which is hosted by a charity called Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action. The online tool provides very detailed information about Advance Decisions ("AD") and Advance Statements ("AS") and their relationship with Lasting Powers of Attorney ("LPA's").
An Advance Decision
An AD can be used by an individual to state which treatments they would want to refuse if they had lost mental capacity and at what point they would want the AD to come into effect. An AD is a legally binding document and if it is made validly, healthcare professionals must follow it.
The online tool explains the purpose of an AD and an individual's rights under law. It also informs individuals on how to create an AD and what an AD can and cannot do.
An Advance Statement
The online tool also provides information and explains what an AS is. An AS allows an individual to state how they would wish to be cared for and any special needs or particular beliefs (including religious, non-religious or spiritual) beliefs. The online tool provides guidance on topics that an individual may want to include/cover in their AS.
Relationship with the LPA
The LPA for Health and Welfare has a complex relationship with an AD and the online tool explains how this relationship works in practice. If an AD is made before an LPA, then once the LPA is registered, the AD will be rendered void. However, if an AD is made after the LPA is registered then the AD will be legally valid.
An LPA for Health and Welfare gives the individual's chosen attorneys the authority to make decisions about them, for example the daily routine (e.g. eating and what to wear), medical care and life-sustaining treatment and can only be used when the individual is unable to make their own decisions. The AD however, will contain more detail about the specific requirements as to the treatments that the individual would want to refuse.
Before a LPA can be used it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. An AD is legally valid once it has been signed and witnessed.
If you are considering making an LPA for your Health and Welfare and Property and Financial Affairs, or if you already have an LPA and wish to discuss making and AD and AS in conjunction with your LPA's then please give us a call and we would be happy to assist.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.