A Living Will is a document that enables you to make your wishes known regarding life sustaining treatments in a life and death situation. Commonly known as ‘DNR’ (Do Not Resuscitate).
It would only be put into effect if you were physically unable to express your wishes or if you weren’t of sound mind. For example, being unconscious or having dementia.
Before your Living Will can be used, two independent doctors must be in agreement as to your condition and your inability to effectively communicate your wishes.
A Living Will cannot:
- Request anything which is against the law (e.g. assisted suicide)
- Allow you to refuse basic care, including food, drink and pain relief
- Give authority to anyone to make decisions about what medical care you receive
A Living Will is not technically a legal term but it usually refers to advanced decisions or statements.
An advance decision
Allows you to identify which treatments you would like to refuse in certain circumstances, such as a wish to not be resuscitated. It must define the exact medications you would like to decline in situations that have to be clearly set out.
An advance statement
Clearly states your wishes, preferences, values and beliefs regarding your medical care where you wish to receive the maximum treatment available with a hope of recovery.
Do you need a Living Will?
A Living Will can help your loved ones to know and respect your wishes and avoid added pressure at a difficult time. It may be that in the past, you have had to make the decisions on behalf of someone else and know how tough it can be.
By creating a Living Will, you are able to express your medical decisions, but by appointing a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) you have someone you trust who is able to act on your behalf should you lose the mental capacity to do so.
Creating your Living Will is simple with Key; usually, it only takes one telephone consultation.
You don’t need to prepare anything before speaking to us, as your estate planner will guide you through the process at your own pace. For an informal discussion about whether a Living Will could benefit you, request a callback today.
These pages give a general overview of the issues surrounding estate planning and are based on our understanding of the current law and tax regulation in England and Wales, which may be subject to change.