Making decisions about your future care
The law relating to a Living Will permits you – if you lose mental capacity in the future – to make:
- A binding advance decision to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment; and/or
- An advance statement setting out which treatments you would or wouldn’t like to receive.
Advance decisions in a Living Will
An advance decision has the same effect as a refusal of treatment by a person with capacity. Essentially, the treatment cannot be given – otherwise the doctor might face civil liability or criminal prosecution.
To be valid an advance decision must meet the following criteria:
- You have to be 18 years old or over and have the mental capacity to make it.
- You need to specify the treatment to be refused.
- You must specify the circumstances in which your refusal would apply.
- You must state that the decision stands even if your life is at risk.
- You must not have been under the influence or harassment from another party when making the decision.
- The decision must not have been modified (verbally or in writing) since it was made.
- It must be in writing and be signed and witnessed (it can be signed by someone else at your direction).
Advance statements in a Living Will
An advance statement can include:
- Treatment you would be happy to have, and in what circumstances.
- Treatment you would want, in any circumstances.
- Treatment you would prefer not to have, and in what circumstances.
- Someone you would like to be consulted about your treatment when a decision needs to be made.
You need to allow for the possibility that new drugs or treatments may be introduced in the future.
To discuss how a Living Will can be drafted to meet your particular requirements, please contact a member of our expert Wills, Trusts and Probate team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online enquiry form
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