What is a Living Will and how do I make one?

shu-Living Will-79224490-zimmytwsExperiencing a life-changing illness or accident could mean that you no longer have the capacity to make decisions about your care or your financial affairs. So, how could someone else manage your affairs for you? A Living Will could be the answer!

Romain Coleman has assisted many people to create a Living Will that best works for their circumstances; one that is sensitive to personal needs and requirements. Creating such a document can put your mind at ease and give you the reassurance you and your immediate family need for the future.

How to make a Living Will

A Living Will, also known as an “advance statement”, can help you to plan and make certain decisions about your future care while you are still in a position to do so. An advance statement provides guidance about what happens with your care if you lack the capacity to make certain choices, for instance, as you age. It can also stipulate other personal information requirements such as what music you like to listen to and what food you like to eat.

All of this can make a huge difference to how you feel about your quality of life in the future, especially if you are facing a life-limiting illness that means you will be unable to make these decisions for yourself in due course.

What to do next?

Once you have put an advance statement in place, it is crucial that you share it with your GP, legal representative and anyone else who will be caring for you in the future. You should be aware that an advance statement is not legally binding, and even though your medical team should consider and respect your wishes, they are not required to do so by law.

Under some circumstances, you may want aspects of your care under more direct control. This is where an “advance decision” document is required, as this is legally binding. This document identifies the types of treatments you do and do not want in the future, and is specifically used when you have no capacity to communicate effectively, for example if you are unconscious. Your advanced decision cannot be used to request euthanasia, nor can you refuse food and water. For your advance decision to be legally binding, it should:

  • Be put in writing;
  • Be signed by you or by someone on your behalf, such as a power of attorney, if you are unable to sign for yourself;
  • Be witnessed – your signature, or that of the person signing on your behalf, must be witnessed by a second party. This witness should also sign the advance decision while you are present;
  • Include a statement to say that your advance decision will still apply ‘even if life is at risk as a result’.

Finally…

Following the completion of your advance decision, or Living Will, it should be shared with your medical team and your family. This will ensure that everyone is aware of the care you require should you no longer be able to make decisions for yourself.

Romain Coleman can help you to create a Living Will that works best for you. To find out more about advance statements and advance decisions and how to make one for yourself, please call us today on 020 8520 4555.

Archives