Your rights and the law
The law gives us the right to choice and control over our lives even if we lose the ability to make our own decisions. This choice is exercised through what is known as a 'Living Will', which consists of both an Advance Decision to refuse treatment and an Advance Statement of your preferences and wishes. They can be made separately, or they can be linked together. The part of the law that deals with Advance Decisions and Advance Statements is the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005), and applies in England and Wales only. The MCA (2005) also created a Lasting power of attorney for health and welfare.
A firm of solicitors, Bates Wells and Braithwaite, as well as a senior member of the Court of Protection, have reviewed this website and are content that it conforms to the Mental Capacity Act both in detail and in spirit.
Advance Decision to refuse treatment
Making an Advance Decision will give you the security that if you lose the ability to make your own decisions, through illness or accident, your stated refusal of medical treatments will be respected.
An Advance Decision to refuse treatment ensures that health care professionals and carers will keep you comfortable and pain free, rather than continue active treatment against your wishes. It also enables you to make your family aware of your wishes if you can't make decisions, and knowing your wishes will help to allay any family differences regarding your treatment.
Advance Statement of your preferences and wishes
If you lose the ability to make decisions, health care professionals and carers must make decisions in your best interests. An Advance Statement of your preferences and wishes will guide those who care for you. It can include matters such as how and where you want to be cared for, your eating habits and concerns around your personal care. An Advance Statement that includes your values and beliefs will also allow others to better understand your Advance Decision to refuse treatment, as it puts your decisions in greater context.
Using this website to make a Living Will
An Advance Decision is as important as a will. We recommend that you first browse the website so that you can think through the issues it raises for you and discuss them with your GP and those close to you.
This website will help you prepare both an Advance Decision and an Advance Statement. As you make decisions and express your wishes, these will be added to your 'Document Builder', as shown in the right-hand column.
At the end of this process, you'll have your own personalised Advance Decision and Advance Statement. You can keep going back to what you have put in the 'Document Builder' until you are happy with decisions and statements you have recorded in your documents. Once complete, you will be able to download your Advance Decision and Advance Statement for printing, signing and sharing.