A sometimes overlooked part of Estate Planning deals with
decisions made regarding end of life care. End of life care can
involve decisions as to medical treatment, choices regarding
resuscitation and artificial life support.
An Advance Care Directive is a document that sets out a
person's specific wishes regarding medical treatment in the
event that they become medically incapacitated and unable to make
those decisions on their own behalf.
An Advance Care Directive can be used to:
Plan future medical care;
Plan for an expected deterioration in health due to a medical
Deal with terminal illness and the treatment choices and
Determine medical treatment. For example, if a patient does not
want certain procedures or operations performed on them, that can
Rule out further treatment or life-sustaining procedures in the
event of a traumatic injury which causes incapacity.
Advance Care Directives are often made in conjunction with the
appointment of an Enduring Guardian. However, if the Advance Care
Directive is made prior to or distinct from an Enduring
Guardianship document, the appointed Guardian under that document
must act in accordance with the separate Advance Care
Therefore, if you have specific health care requests, wishes or
directions that you want to ensure are carried out, it is advisable
that you complete an Advanced Care Directive in addition to any
appointment of an Enduring Guardian or make sure that your existing
Enduring Guardianship document contains an Advance Care
Advance Care Directives work best when they reflect a
person's most current wishes regarding their medical treatment.
For these reasons, Directives that are years or decades old should
be updated so that they accurately reflect current medical
conditions and possible healthcare scenarios.
A well-drafted Advance Care Directive will be specific to a
person's desired medical treatments and will not use
generalities. The more specific that the Directive is, the easier
it will be for your Guardian to interpret your decisions, and for
medical practitioners to provide appropriate medical care at a
later date. When in doubt, the document should be more specific as
opposed to less specific.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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