The Advanced Health Directive

IN THE past two weeks I have looked at General Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Attorney.

Both are formal documents that give another person the authority to make decisions on your behalf. Out of the two, only the Enduring Power of Attorney can provide power to make decisions about personal and health matters.

But what about if you want to confirm your end of life decisions about your health care before you actually lose the capacity to do so?

This brings us to this week’s topic – the Advance Health Directive (“AHD”).

The AHD is also a formal document and can be made by any person over the age of 18 and who has the capacity to make decisions. The AHD sets out the treatment you want (or don’t want), can appoint someone to deal with medical and health matters and provides health care professionals and others with information they need (such as specific medical information, cultural beliefs, allergies etc.). It applies if you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions and are in the final stages of life.

The instructions that you include in the AHD regarding your medical treatment can be general in nature or very specific.

If you change your mind about what is in your AHD it can be changed (provided you retain the capacity to do so) – just like you change your Will when circumstances change.

Unfortunately, accidents and illness can strike at any time and so the best time to prepare an AHD is now – before anything happens.

If you need any advice on preparing or changing an AHD, get in touch with Walker Pender Group Lawyers.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

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