A LIVING WILL OR AN ADVANCE CARE PLAN ARE WHAT? - Afterlife Funerals
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A LIVING WILL OR AN ADVANCE CARE PLAN ARE WHAT?

A LIVING WILL OR AN ADVANCE CARE PLAN ARE WHAT?

A LIVING WILL OR AN ADVANCE CARE PLAN ARE WHAT?
Everyone has the right to make their own medical treatment decisions. However, an injury or illness may render you incapable of making those judgments on your own. If you’re in the midst of estate planning and creating a Last Will & Testament, you should also consider creating a Living Will as a safeguard in the event that you lose the ability to make decisions later in life.
A living will, also known as an advance care directive, health directive, or similar terminology, might include all of your needs, values, and preferences for future care, as well as information about a substitute decision-maker. When created and completed properly, this legal instrument takes precedence over all other estate documents.
This article will discuss living wills and how to obtain the appropriate documents for each Australian state and territory. It is divided into the following subsections:
1. What is the purpose of a living will?
2. Why is it necessary to have a living will?
3. How is a living will created?
4. Downloadable advance care directive forms
5. Concluding remarks on living wills

1. WHAT IS A LASTING WILL AND TESTAMENT?
A living will, often referred to as an advance care directive, is a more formalised version of your advance care plan. It details your preferences for future care, as well as your views, values, and objectives. While advance directives vary by state and territory, they generally specify an individual’s preferences for future medical treatment in the event they are unable to express consent. Additionally, they enable you to choose a replacement decision-maker to act on your behalf if you are unable to make decisions on your own.

2. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A LIVING WILL?
Making a living will, also known as an advance directive, is a critical component of end-of-life care planning. It is hard to predict what will happen to your health in the future, and you may have clear views about how you wish to live the remainder of your life. Thus, documenting your health and medical wishes while you are still in good health ensures that they will be followed if you become unable to make those decisions later in life.
Before giving medical treatment, health practitioners must obtain your consent. However, an illness or injury may impair your ability to make medical care decisions. In a crisis, your loved ones may struggle to determine the best course of therapy for you. An advance directive will ensure that everyone knows what you would like if you are unable to communicate it. It is a legal document that contains legally enforceable instructions regarding future medical care that you consent to or decline.
A living will enables you to express your larger choices and values for end-of-life care and future medical treatment – such as what ‘living well’ means to you, which therapies you would or would not desire, and any other requests for spiritual care or cultural beliefs at the time of death.
You can create a values directive to guide your decision-maker (e.g. “Quality of life is most important to me”) and/or an instructional directive, which is a legally enforceable statement of your permission to or refusal of specified future medical care (e.g. “I do not wish to be resuscitated”).

3. HOW ARE LIVING WILLS ESTABLISHED?
A living will, alternatively referred to as an advance directive, may contain one or more of the following:
• the replacement decision-maker you wish to designate; • specifics of what is important to you, including values and desired results; and • the treatments and care you would like or would refuse if you were diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or injury.

While you must have the capacity to establish an advance care directive, you do not need a lawyer to complete a lawful directive. The procedures and standards for drafting advance directives and appointing replacement decision makers differ by state and territory. You can get the forms for your state or territory by clicking on the links in the section below.
Once your advance directive is completed, you should sign and date it. Additionally, your substitute decision-maker and physician may sign it. If you have chosen someone to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf, ensure that they have read and comprehended it. After that, you should distribute copies of your directive to your family, alternate decision-maker, hospital, and physician. Maintain a copy of your original advance directive in a secure location that is easily accessible in case it is needed. Additionally, you can upload your advance care directive to My Health Record.
Every two years, or anytime your personal or medical circumstances changes, it is suggested that you evaluate your advance directive.
In general, an advance directive becomes legally valid when it is signed by a person with decision-making ability and an eligible witness (or two in some instances). The directives are generally valid in other parts of Australia, however some restrictions and additional requirements may apply. It is a good idea to update your papers if you are permanently relocating to another state or territory.

4. DOWNLOADABLE FORMS FOR ADVANCE CARE DIRECTIVE

SOUTH AUSTRALIA LIVING WILLS
In South Australia, an Advance Care Directive may be used to nominate a Substitute Decision-Maker.
The form will be valid only if it is signed by an independent authorised witness, such as a Justice of the Peace, lawyer, physician, nurse, pharmacist, educator, or public servant (for more than five years).

VICTORIA LIVING WILLS
In Victoria, an Appointment of Medical Decision Maker enables you to formally nominate someone to act on your behalf in medical concerns. This document enables you to delegate decision-making authority to someone in whom you have confidence. Should you become incapable of making medical treatment decisions for yourself, your medical treatment decision maker will have legal authority to do so on your behalf.
Two independent adults, including one who is an approved witness, such as a Justice of the Peace, lawyer, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or teacher, must witness an Appointment of Medical Decision Maker paperwork.
You may decide to establish an Advance Care Directive in addition to your Appointment of Medical Decision Maker. An Advance Care Directive documents your medical values and preferences in detail and can be incredibly beneficial for your Medical Decision Maker to refer to when making medical choices on your behalf.
Two independent adults, one of whom is a qualified medical practitioner, must witness an Advance Care Directive.
If you created an advance care plan before to 12 March 2018, it will be treated as a statement of your values and preferences by your medical treatment decision-maker. Consider creating a new legally binding directive.

LIVING WILLS – NEW SOUTH WALES
The living will is referred to in New South Wales as an Advance Care Directive.
In contrast to other states, NSW does not have a standardised form for an Advance Care Directive. Advance Care Directives can be scrawled on a scrap of paper without being observed and remain legally enforceable. However, a signed Advance Care Directive is the prefered method of recording your desires.

QUEENSLAND LIVING WILLS
A living will is referred to in Queensland as an Advance Health Directive.
Section 5 must be completed by a physician, and Section 9 must be completed by a witness. At least 21 years of age and either a justice of the peace, a commissioner for declarations, a lawyer, or a notary public, your witness must be. They cannot be your attorney, a family member, a will beneficiary, your present paid caregiver, or your current health-care professional (e.g. nurse or doctor).

WESTERN AUSTRALIA LIVING WILLS
A living will is referred to in Western Australia as an Advance Health Directive. It has an effect on future medical and surgical therapy; life support measures; and palliative care.
A living will must be witnessed by an authorised person, such as a Justice of the Peace, lawyer, physician, nurse, pharmacist, or teacher, in order for it to be legally valid. Additionally, it must include a declaration confirming that you have sought legal or medical counsel in advance.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY – LIVING WILLS (ACT)
The living will is referred to in the ACT as a Health Direction. It must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and the person issuing the directive.

TASMANIA – LIVING WILLS
In Tasmania, a living will is referred to as an Advance Care Directive for End-of-Life Care. It must be witnessed by a person over the age of 18 who is unrelated to the individual providing the direction and is not a named beneficiary in that person’s will.

NORTHERN TERRITORY LIVING WILLS (NT)
The living will is referred to in the Northern Territory as an Advance Personal Plan.
It must be signed by an approved witness to be valid. These individuals may include the following: Commissioners for Oaths, which may include legal practitioners, Justices of the Peace, and police officers; physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health practitioners; accountants; Chief Executive Officers of Local Government Authorities; social workers; and principals of Northern Territory schools.

5. CONCLUSIONS ON LIVING WILLS
As with other estate planning agreements, a living will is a critical legal document that should be in place if you intend to communicate your end-of-life preferences to others, including medical decisions, in the event that you become unable to do so later.
It is critical to keep these records current and secure. Maintain a copy in a secure location and distribute another to your designated decision-maker, a trusted family member or attorney. And reintroduce yourself to life!

Afterlife Funerals Pty Ltd is a family-owned and operated business located in the Sydney metropolitan area of New South Wales. Established in 2004 we strive to offer families a low-cost funeral service with our renowned bespoke service.

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