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Advance Decisions

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An advance decision is a statement of instructions about what medical and healthcare treatment you want to refuse in the future, in case you lose the capacity to make these decisions. It is important to note you can only refuse specific treatment in the future, rather than demand specific treatment.

You can only make an advance decision if:-

  • You have capacity to make those decisions now, and
  • You are at least 18 years old.

An advance decision can be either written or verbal and it should set out the circumstances for which refusal should apply. However, if it relates to life sustaining treatment it must be written, signed and witnessed. The advance decision must contain a “a clear, specific written statement from the person making the advance decision that it is to apply to the specific treatment even if life is at risk” (MCA Code of Practice). Your advance decision can be amended or withdrawn at any time. Here at Johnson Astills our specialist solicitors in the Wills & Probate department understand the importance of ensuring your advance decisions are valid and we can assist you with this.

A valid and applicable advance decision must be specific to the treatment in question. If the advance decision is considered valid then it has the same force as though you had just made the decision and medical professionals must follow that advance decision.

An advance decision may be invalid in certain circumstances:-

  • if the decision was withdrawn whilst you still have capacity
  • if you have made a Lasting Power of Attorney after the advance decision and you give authority for Attorneys to make treatment decisions that had been covered by your advance decision or
  • if you do something clearly against your advance decision suggesting you have changed your mind.

If you make an advance decision it is your responsibility to ensure healthcare professionals and family are informed that you have an advance decision in place.

Here at Johnson Astills we have specialist solicitors who can advise you in relation to advance decisions and prepare these documents on your behalf. Johnson Astills are experts in Wills & Probate and if you would like to speak to a solicitor in the department please call us on 0116 255 4855.