A Living Will is legally binding in England and Wales on condition it meets certain legal requirements. A healthcare physician is legally obligated to ensure your Living Will is adhered to and may face court action for any failure to do so.
This instrument can only be used if you lose the capacity to make or communicate decisions about your treatment. It does not give someone else the power to make other medical decisions on your behalf. For that, you’ll need to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney.
What do I need to think about at the time of making a Living Will?
You would need to consider what you would not want to receive in certain situations when you become ill. If you have a healthcare professional looking after you then you may wish to consult with them on the risks and benefits of refusing specific treatments. You may also want to discuss you Living Will with your family and friends so that they understand your wishes.
Your Living Will to refuse treatment
Your Living Will must be clear about the circumstances under which you would not want to receive specified treatment. A Living Will may exclude any medical treatments such as –
- Being put on a ventilator when you cannot breathe on your own
- Antibiotics for any life-threatening infection
- Being given food or fluids artificially, for example through a drip, a tube through the nose or a tube directly into the stomach
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart fails
A Living Will may not be used for anything unlawful or for the prevention of primary care such as –
- A refusal to be offered food and drink by mouth
- A refusal of care to keep you comfortable and clean
- Any assistance to end your life
What is an Advance Statement?
An Advance Statement of your wishes explains your likes, dislikes and anything essential to help to make you comfortable in the event of your illness. An Advance Statement should be considered by everyone involved in your care. An Advance Statement is not legally binding.
You may want to include information such as-
- Where you would like to be cared for, for example. A care home, hospice or at home
- Any dietary requirements you may have
- Whether you prefer baths or showers
- Your religious beliefs or values
- Who you would like to be consulted regarding your care
- Visitors you may want or not want
It is essential to give a copy of your Advance Statement to all those involved in your care – especially your care staff, GP, and medical team so that they know your wishes if possible.
How we can help?
We can offer you quick and affordable access to a downloadable Living Will precisely drafted by our senior lawyer at a cost of £25.00*. This document provides you with all the essential details and is written in the style lawfully required within a Power of Attorney along with clear instructions and guidance detailing what information you need to add or remove depending on your specifications.
Who can witness my Living Will?
It would be recommended you print off two copies of your Living Will. One to be retained by yourself and a second copy to be retained by a trusted person or your solicitor. You will need to sign the Living Will in the presence of two independent witnesses who should not be a family member, spouse, partner or friend that stands to benefit from your Will as this will invalidate the legacy to them. These formalities must be strictly complied with.
Read our suggestions on how to get a witness during Covid-19 times here.
I don’t have access to a printer?
Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Fill out the Living Will and send it back to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we received it from you, we will send two copies in the post for you and your witnesses to sign.