Even if you are currently in good health and have a Lasting Power of Attorney over Health & Welfare matters it is important to update or at least review your Advance Decision/ Living Will regularly.
If something happens to you and you lose mental capacity but your Advance Decision/ Living Will was not updated in the last two years, cases have shown that the Doctors giving you medical treatment will be more confident that the instructions set out in your Advance Decision/ Living Will are still an accurate reflection of your wishes. They are then more likely to carry out your treatment in line with the Advance Decision/ Living Will.
Many Advance Decisions and Living Wills include a provision for the refusal of life sustaining treatment. If this is the case then the Doctors need to be certain that the Advance Decision/ Living Will is valid as well as whether it covers the particular decision in hand.
Where an Advance Decision / Living Will has not been updated for some time it does not automatically render it invalid but doubts can be cast as to whether the documents still set out your current wishes. In such cases a Doctor can choose to not follow the requests in the Advance Decision/ Living Will. Therefore, regularly reviewing and/ or updating these documents is essential if you want your wishes to be carried out.
It is also important to discuss your Advance Decision / Living Will with your Doctor and, ideally, for the document to contain the Doctor’s name and address and for it to refer to the fact that you have discussed it with your Doctor.
If any of the following have occurred you are advised to review and/or update your Advance Decision/ Living Will.
-You have been diagnosed with an illness or your health has changed.
-You are going into hospital for surgery or other major medical treatment.
-Your Advance Decision/ Living Will has not been reviewed in the last two years.
-Your Living Will or an Advance Decision was made before 2007.
-You have changed doctor or moved house.
-You have made a Lasting Power of Attorney for covering your Health and Welfare.
-You want to change anything in your Advance Decision/ Living Will.
If you would like to review or updated your Advance Decision/ Living Will please contact a member of our Private Client team who will be happy to advise on whether a change is necessary and if so, to assist.