If you’re worried about losing mental capacity in the future and no longer having control over the type of medical treatment you receive, you may want to make a Living Will.

A Living Will – also called an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment – allows you to set out instructions for your future healthcare. For example, you can use it to tell doctors:

  • If there’s any type of treatment you don’t want to receive
  • You want life-sustaining care to be withdrawn at a certain point
  • Do not resuscitate in certain circumstances.

An Advance Decision is legally binding and must be respected by those providing your medical care. You can also make something called a Statement of Preferences, also known as an Advanced Care Plan. This isn’t legally binding, but your family, doctors and carers may wish to take it into consideration when making decisions about your care.

Our solicitors can help you make a Living Will to give you peace of mind for future and make sure your loved ones know what you want. We have extensive experience helping people plan for later life and can advise you on how to make one that’s right for you and your wishes.

Call us today on 0370 1500 100 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

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Make A Living Will - More Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should I Tell About My Living Will?

If you want to make a Living Will, we recommend you discuss this with your GP and any doctors or consultants already treating you. You should leave a copy of it with your medical records so it’s easily accessible.

We also recommend you let your loved ones know about your wishes. This will prepare them in the event you do need to have any treatment withdrawn, and can save disputes amongst family if everyone understands what your wishes are from the start.

We understand it can be distressing to talk to others about the prospect of taking away life-sustaining care, but it’s essential to set out your wishes to ensure you’ll be treated in the way you want.

Should I Get A Living Will Or A Power Of Attorney?

Whether you make a Living Will or Power of Attorney (LPA) will depend on your own personal circumstances. It is possible to make both, but they must be carefully drafted to ensure the terms of the LPA don’t invalidate your wishes in the Living Will.

A Living Will is much narrower in scope, as it only deals with treatment in a specific situation. However, if you feel strongly about certain medical care, it can be easier to make sure your wishes are respected with a Living Will.

An LPA is drafted using a prescribed form, and certain conditions need to be fulfilled in order for it to be effective:

  • It needs a certificate of capacity (to say you no longer have mental capacity)
  • It has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

A doctor would also have to consult all the named attorneys before going ahead with any removal of treatment.

There’s no prescribed form for a Living Will, and it doesn’t need a certificate to come into effect. The doctor doesn’t have a statutory duty to consult anyone – as long as they’re satisfied the Living Will is valid and applies to the current situation, they have a duty to follow its directive.

We can talk you through whether a Living Will or LPA (or both) is right for you. Call us today on 0370 1500 100, or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you back.

Can A Living Will Ever Be Overruled?

As long as the Living Will is valid and is relevant to the current circumstances of your care, the medical staff looking after you must follow it. They must do this even if they think it would be in your best interests to receive the treatment that you’ve said you don’t want to receive.

If you have a Lasting Power of Attorney covering your healthcare decisions, however, it might be overridden. If the LPA also talks about refusing life-sustaining treatment, this might invalidate the Living Will.

In order to make sure your Living Will is valid and will be upheld, we recommend you seek legal advice. Talk to our team today.

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