Advance Decisions/ Living Wills

An Advance Decision (often known as a Living Will) states what medical treatment you would not like to receive if you lose the ability to make your own decisions in the future and can also appoint someone else (known as a proxy) to make decisions on your behalf. Although they can be drafted while you are in good health they are often made following the discovery of a serious illness or dementia, and can be useful for many reasons:

  • ensuring personal or religious beliefs about medical treatments are respected
  • allowing individuals to make decisions about medical treatments while still of sound mind
  • offering peace of mind that critical decisions have been made in advance

There are two different aspects:

Advanced Decisions

Advanced Decisions are legally binding and notify medical staff that you have chosen to refuse treatments such as antibiotics, intravenous feeding and resuscitation.

Advanced Statements

Advanced Statements are purely informative and outline the extent of medical intervention you'd like. Although not legally binding, they're still to be respected by healthcare professionals.

If your Living Will which was made before 1 October 2007 it won't have the same legal force as an Advance Decision, so you may wish to update your documents. We also strongly recommend speaking to your doctor about your specific medical situation so that you can make informed decisions about your care and treatment.

To discuss this issue further contact our team for clear, practical advice.

Our Advance Decisions/ Living Wills Team

Kevin Grant

Solicitor & Director

Kevin qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and is a Director at Harland & Co. He has many years experience of dealing with civil litigation and provides advice and assistance to clients who are involved in bringing or defending Court Claims. He also has a substantial Private Client caseload dealing with Will drafting, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection matters and the the Administration of Estates. More about Kevin Grant
Elizabeth Dunn
Elizabeth is a private client solicitor who has joined Harlands in 2023. Elizabeth deals with the drafting of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and assists clients in the administration of deceased estates. More about Elizabeth Dunn