Advance Directive / Living Wills

A Living Will (legally referred to as an Advance Decision in England and an Advance Directive in Scotland) is a document setting out the circumstances under which you would not want to receive life-sustaining medical treatment if you became seriously ill in the future and were incapable of making your own healthcare decisions. The sorts of treatments commonly covered by Living Wills are artificial feeding, mechanical ventilation, antibiotic therapy and resuscitation. It must be signed whilst you are mentally capable. The document contains provision for details of your GP but it is not obligatory to discuss your Living Will in advance with him or her, although it may be helpful to do so.

Advance Decisions or Directives should be regularly reviewed and updated to take into account medical advances and new drug treatments, as well as changes to your own views and preferences. They can be cancelled at any time, either verbally or in writing, while you still have capacity to do so.

In England, valid and applicable Advance Decisions are legally enforceable under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and must be followed by healthcare professionals.

In Scotland, Advance Directives are not legally enforceable under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, but one of the general principles of the Act states that the wishes of the adult should be taken into consideration when acting or making a decision on their behalf.


For more information on writing a living will, please Contact Us

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