No-one likes talking about end-of-life care. For that reason, the idea of an Advance Directive, also known as the “Living Will”, is not commonly talked about.
It is a written statement of your wishes to accept or refuse certain near end of life medical treatment. It is also a way of making sure that everyone knows what treatment you do or do not want to receive, should you become unable to make your own decisions in the future.
In the event that you are unable to communicate with medical professionals and your family, the Advance Directive will be used to guide Doctors and make known your wishes. Without it, Doctors will fall back on the instructions of a next of kin. By putting in place an Advance Directive, there will be no doubt about your wishes and your family will be spared the agony of having to decide.
Advance Directives can also be beneficial in a lot of different situations, for example, if you start to suffer from dementia and have no idea what is happening until it is too late to make a will. You could also be diagnosed with a terminal illness or involved in a serious accident. None of us want to think it may be us or a loved one who becomes incapacitated, but the truth is no one knows what the future holds.
We know this can be an uncomfortable matter to talk about, but unfortunately in life, some people do become incapacitated either physically, mentally or both.
Many of us will not have given it a second thought to what we would like to happen should we become incapable, but for those close to us it can be a serious concern, particularly on top of the shock of being immobilised due to a serious illness or an accident. It is important even more now than ever to make sure your wishes are known.
There are a lot of pros of an Advance Directive to be taken into consideration:
An advance directive should specify what kind of treatment you wish to receive, and do not:
It is important to be as clear as possible about:
If you decide that you would like to have an advance directive you should:
If you are concerned that you might change your mind, an Advance Directive can be revoked at any time.
Advance Directives are not legally binding in Scotland but they are highly persuasive. In the event of a dispute, the existence of an Advance Directive will be of great assistance to a court making a judgement.
Our team of Private Client solicitors at Livingstone Brown will make sure all the options are explored with our clients and help them make the best decisions about such very important and personal matters. Get in touch with our team today on 0141 429 8166 or by completing our online contact form.
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