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Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney & Advice for Older Clients

Living Wills and Advance Directives

A Living Will, also referred to as an Advance Directive or Advance Decision, is a legal document which is used to specify your wishes about the medical treatment you would like to receive should you lose mental capacity.

While planning for a potential future where you cannot make decisions for yourself may be difficult, we do not know where life may take us. Having provisions in place to ensure that your wishes are respected is therefore incredibly important.

At Kingsfords, we have substantial expertise in handling these types of matters and can provide carefully tailored advice to guide you through the entire process of writing a Living Will. Approaching your case with sensitivity and compassion, we can guide you through all the necessary steps to making a Living Will, ensuring it is tailored to your precise wishes.

Our Living Wills service includes:

  • A clearly drafted Living Will accounting for all your future medical needs
  • Directions on your wishes about life sustaining treatment
  • Providing copies to your GP
  • Providing copies to your family, friends and care providers as appropriate

Speak to our Private Client Team today

For further information or to make an appointment please contact our Wills, Probate and Powers of Attorney Team in Ashford, Cranbrook or Hythe today by calling 01233 665544.

Alternatively, please fill in our enquiry form on the right hand side of the page to request a call back.

Our Living Wills expertise

When dealing with Living Wills, our team will make sure that every future medical treatment possibility is accounted for, using this information to draft a carefully tailored Living Will.

When instructed, we can talk you through the types of treatment and the circumstances in which you do not want to receive them, whether you would like life-sustaining treatment to be withheld, and whether you would like a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ clause included.

Once our team have created a Living Will, with it being officially signed, witnessed and dated, we then proceed to provide copies to your GP.

We can also make sure that family members, friends and your care team are provided a copy so they are aware of your wishes and can act accordingly depending on the circumstances.

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Frequently asked questions about Living Wills and Advance Directives

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will, or Advance Directive, is a legally binding document that provides health professionals with instructions about the care and medical treatments you do not want to receive in the event that you lose mental capacity.

Before the contents of a Living Will can be followed, a mental capacity assessment will need to be conducted by health professionals to establish whether you are capable of making your own decisions.

What is mental capacity?

Mental Capacity is the ability to make decisions for yourself. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) sets out the law on mental capacity.

Under the Act, anyone who lacks mental capacity is not able to:

  • Understand information about a specific decision
  • Retain the information long enough to be able to make a decision
  • Consider information to assist with making a decision
  • Communicate the decision, either verbally or through any other means such as sign language

There are a number of reasons why you may lack mental capacity at a certain point. These include where you suffer from an illness such as Alzheimer’s Disease, or a condition such as a stroke or brain injury.

Loss of mental capacity can be temporary. For example, someone who is unconscious lacks mental capacity, but they can regain this at a later time when they wake up.

What decisions does the Mental Capacity Act cover?

The MCA can cover any number of decisions. It can range from simple day-to-day decisions that every person makes, such as what to have for breakfast or what to wear, through to important, life-changing decisions such as whether to have surgery or to sell a property.

It is important to note that mental capacity is always assessed on an individual basis. Just because someone is able to decide on what to wear, this does not mean that they have the capacity to make decisions about their medical treatment.

What should be included in a Living Will?

When making a Living Will, you should carefully consider the types of treatment you wish to refuse and under what circumstances these will be appropriate. It is strongly recommended to get expert Living Will advice to ensure nothing has been overlooked.

Often, Living Wills include provisions for:

Life-sustaining treatment

A Living Will can be used to put provisions in place to refuse certain treatment that would keep you alive. This could include:

  • Ventilation to help you breathe
  • CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • Antibiotics to fight infection

Do not attempt CPR

It is possible to refuse CPR in advance of losing mental capacity. If this is a decision you would like to make, it is important to speak to your friends and family so that they are aware of the situation.

What does a Living Will not cover?

A Living Will cannot include any requests for a health professional to end your life (euthanasia) as this currently remains illegal in the UK.

What is the difference between a Living Will and an Advance Directive?

An Advance Directive is simply another way of referring to a Living Will. The term Advance Decision is also commonly used and, again, this is simply another way of referring to a Living Will.

Are there any alternatives to Living Wills?

If you do not think that a Living Will is suitable for your situation, or you would like more basic health and care decisions to be made on your behalf if you lose capacity, there are alternative options.

For example, you can make a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. Under this, the appointed Attorneys can make decisions such as whether to give or refuse consent to medical treatment or decide where you should live.

Is a Living Will legally binding?

So long as your Living Will fulfils certain formal requirements, it will be considered legally binding. Your doctors will therefore need to abide by your wishes.

Contact Us

For further information or to make an appointment with our Private Client, please contact our Wills, Probate and Powers of Attorney Team in AshfordCranbrook or Hythe today by calling 01233 665544.

Alternatively, please fill in our enquiry form on the right hand side of the page to request a call back.