Making an advance decision

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Making an advance decision

Our fee for preparing a bespoke advance decision document for you is £120 plus VAT. We can also prepare a Will and/or Power of Attorney to compliment it. For further details call 0808 139 1606 or email us at [email protected]
It can be difficult to discuss our wishes surrounding life-sustaining treatment with our loved ones, but if we don’t do so then we might find that it is too late. Preparing a document known as an ‘advance decision’ enables you to grasp this nettle and formally set out your wishes in respect of future medical treatment.

What is an advance decision?

An advance decision (sometimes known as a living Will, or an ‘advance decision to refuse treatment’) allows you to make your desires crystal clear about refusing future medical treatment, including life sustaining treatment. Within your advance decision you can specify the types of treatment you wish to refuse and the circumstances in which you would want to refuse them.
However, an advance decision cannot include a request to be given or receive a particular treatment.

Why should I consider making an advance decision?

An advance decision ensures that your family, carers and health professionals are aware of your wishes surrounding the refusal of treatment if, for example, you are no longer able to make or communicate your wishes yourself.

Making an advance decision

You can use solicitors to prepare your advance decision on a bespoke basis or use a standard form which can often be provided by hospitals and hospices.

The document should include key information such as:

  • The date of your advance decision
  • Your personal details and anything that will enable healthcare professionals to identify you;
  • Your GP’s details;
  • A statement confirming that the advance decision  should be used if you cannot make or communicate a decision yourself;
  • The treatment you wish to be refused and the circumstances in which this will apply.

The document must be signed and have the dated signature of at least one witness. If you wish to refuse treatment that would keep you alive, it must also include the following statement:

‘I refuse this treatment even if my life is at risk as a result.’

Is an advance decision legally binding?

Provided the correct formalities are complied with, an advance decision is legally binding in England and Wales. This means it will take precedence over decisions made by others, even if these are made in your best interests.

An advance decision and a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare

It is important to be aware that you can have both an advance decision and a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Health and Welfare. If you have both, the one that was made more recently will take priority when a decision needs to be made about your treatment and care.
For example, if you prepared an advance decision after making a health and welfare LPA, your Attorney(s) will not be able to override what is written in your advance decision. But if you prepare a Health and Welfare LPA after making an advance decision, your attorney will be able to override what is written in it, so long as long as when you made your LPA  you gave them the power to make the decision in question.

How we can help

We can prepare an advance decision on its own or in conjunction with a Will and/or a Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you would like us to help you with this or you wish to discuss matters further with one of our lawyers, please contact us on freephone 0808 139 1606 or send an email to us at [email protected]