What is a ‘Living Will’?

A Living Will, sometimes referred to as an advance directive or advance decision, is a decision often by way of a legal document, which a person can create, to refuse the giving or continuing specific medical treatment if they have lost capacity.

The main requirements for making a living will are:-

  • You must be over the age of 18 years old
  • You must be of sound mind to make the decision

Living Wills have recently made the headlines, in an unfortunate case where the Living Will was misplaced and the decision-maker was fed artificially for 22 months, against their wishes.

When making a Living Will, careful consideration should be given to the contents of the document, as decisions can only be made in regards to the treatments mentioned.

A Living Will is legally binding, even if it might lead to death, explicitly stating “even if life is at risk as a result”.

Such a document is useful to healthcare professionals and the relatives of the decision-maker, to understand their wishes in regards to life sustaining treatment.

Abigail Wells, a Trainee Legal Executive at Thursfields Solicitors stated “When making a Living Will it is important to discuss the matter with your general practitioner and seek legal advice to understand the effects of the decision.”

Having a Living Will in place means that it is more likely the decision-maker’s wishes in relation to their future medical treatment shall be followed.

For further information, please contact: Abigail Wells, Trainee Legal Executive, on 0121 227 3850 or e-mail awells@thursfields.co.uk

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