Creating a Living Will

Date: Jun 06, 2011
Document Type: Newsletter

A Living Will is a document created to clarify intent with regard to future health concerns and treatment. The document itself is legitimised by setting up specific medical Enduring Power of Attorney while a person is in sound mind and able to do. This Power of Attorney may be held with a family member or other trusted person who is given the rights to make decisions regarding health and treatment when the person is no longer able to do so.

It is important that a Living Will be signed whilst a person is mentally competent. A person may have a mental illness and sign a Living Will as long as it can be shown that the person making the Will understands the implications of what has been written and is being signed. It is wise to consult and conduct this business with your solicitor to ensure that paperwork is legally processed and your intentions are made clear.

Advanced Care Directives

In some states, such as Queensland, South Australia the Northern Territory and Western Australia, Advanced Care Directives (ACDs) are legally binding documents, allowing people to determine their future health choices through Living Wills. Most States offer guidelines in preparing such documents and setting up carer rights. Although these rights and options usually come into place at the end of one’s life, it is becoming increasingly important with the rise in mental illness, that people have options in place for care during times of crisis. Once again, it is advisable to discuss these decisions with your solicitor.

A Living Will or an Advanced Care Directive records decisions made prior to illness or incapacitation about health and treatment. These documents come into effect when a person can no longer make decisions for themselves and can be made if the person has mental capacity and is over 18 years of age. Directives can include wishes about resuscitation, hydration, surgery and artificial feeding. However, some people have specific requests such as refusing antibiotics, blood transfusions or other treatments and interventions. Oftentimes these decisions are based in ideological or religion concerns that the person making the Living Will would like to have respected.

Enduring Power of Guardianship/Attorney

By issuing Enduring Power of Guardianship or Attorney you can empower a trusted person or family member to:

  • make decisions about where you live, permanently or temporarily
  • make decisions about who you live with
  • make decisions about whether you work or not and, thereby, any work-related matters
  • make treatment decisions on your behalf with regards to medical, surgical or dental treatment or other health care (including palliative care and life-sustaining measures such as assisted ventilation and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation)
  • deal with legal proceedings on your behalf, within the strictures of law
  • advocate for and make decisions about your support services
  • seek and receive information on your behalf.

Alternatively, you can restrict any of these powers or introduce issues that are of significance to you. When appointing Power of Guardianship or Attorney, you will determine when these powers will come into effect and under which circumstances.

Your solicitor will be able to advise on the extent of these powers and the legal parameters of such documents.

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Date: Dec 13, 2011
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Date: Jun 20, 2014
Caveats in Probate Proceedings
Date: Jul 24, 2014
Choosing your executor
Date: May 09, 2012
Coercion in making a will
Date: Sep 07, 2011
Creating a Living Will
Date: Jun 06, 2011
Family Provision Overview
Date: Jul 16, 2012
Fixing errors in Wills
Date: Mar 28, 2012
Gambling away inheritance?
Date: Jun 18, 2012
Informal and Stopgap Wills
Date: Nov 26, 2013
Life changes and wills
Date: Mar 12, 2013
Lost Wills
Date: Mar 21, 2014
Moral duty and family provision
Date: Oct 01, 2012
Obtaining Probate
Date: Feb 03, 2011
Proper funeral planning
Date: Jan 31, 2013
Security for Costs
Date: Aug 08, 2010
Testamentary Capacity
Date: Apr 01, 2012
The Basics of Estate Planning
Date: Apr 01, 2011
The Curse of the Homemade Will
Date: Sep 18, 2014
The Problem With Internet Wills
Date: Jun 18, 2014
What are Powers of Attorney?
Date: Jun 16, 2014
What can a will be written on?
Date: Sep 07, 2011
What is a “Benjamin Order”?
Date: Oct 04, 2013
When should a will be changed?
Date: Feb 03, 2012
Who will look after your pets?
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Witnessing a will
Date: Sep 07, 2011
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