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Living Wills

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Living Wills / Advance Directives in Glasgow, Scotland

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:

  • Professional documentation to give clarity to your wishes
  • Prevention of family disputes: the ability to read your wishes and follow them out provides certainty
  • A cost-effective approach to manage your own end-of-life care which can avoids the legal costs of any court case
  • Give your family your clear and precise directions of what you wish to be carried out
  • This can be a helping hand when your family needs it most

An advance directive should specify what kind of treatment you wish to receive, and do not:

  • CPR
  • Artificial ventilation
  • If your condition and quality of life is not improving and is getting worse while you are being fed via a feeding tube or drip, you do not want these treatments to continue
  • To decline or accept certain medicines (such as antibiotics to treat infections) and
  • To decide when and who would have the role of deciding when and if to turn off a life support machine off

It is important to be as clear as possible about:

  • The treatment you would like to refuse
  • The circumstances when you would like your advance directive to apply
  • Your wishes of when your Directive should be used
  • Your clear wishes and who should carry these out for you
  • What care facility you would like

If you decide that you would like to have an advance directive you should:

  • Take legal advice
  • Let your family know your requests
  • Send a copy to your GP
  • Make clear direction to those who need to know your wishes
  • Keep your documents safe

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.

Is it time to talk to your family about a Living Will? Contact our solicitors for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Scotland

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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