living wills

Living Wills

In the news recently has been the story of 81 year old Brenda Grant....

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Living Wills

18th December 2017

News : Wills & Probate

In the news recently has been the story of 81 year old Brenda Grant. Mrs Grant had been kept alive for nearly two years against her wishes having suffered a stroke. The stroke had resulted in her being unable to talk, walk or even swallow. She had been moved into a care home, and kept alive, for 22 months.

This was all despite the fact that Mrs Grant had signed a ‘Living Will’ (or Advance Directive). This had been lost by the hospital, and her family did not know of its existence. Therefore nobody was aware of her wishes. The Living Will had been very clear that she was not to be kept alive in such circumstances.

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will (or Advance Directive) is a legal document. It confirms how you want to be treated if you become seriously ill and are unable to decide for yourself.  It can include a wide range of directions, including withholding life sustaining treatment.

How do I make a Living Will?

It is essential to ensure that the Living Will is written correctly to make certain it is legally binding. It is also important that it is clear so that your wishes are carried out as you would want. Mrs Grant’s case highlights the importance of making decisions for the future. Whether this be making your Will, a Living Will, or a Lasting Power or Attorney.

Living Will or LPA

A Lasting Power of Attorney  (LPA) gives your family the power to act on your behalf. It can be used for both financial and health matters. For health matters, it can only be used once you are no longer able to make those decisions yourself. It can also include the power for your attorneys to make decisions about life sustaining treatment. If these decisions are made in advance, this can save heartache and confusion for your family in the future.

How can I be sure that my Living Will will be followed?

Mrs Grant’s case also highlights that just having these documents in place is not enough. You need to make sure that these documents are stored safely and known to your family. This way, they can find them and provide them to the doctors if necessary.

At Poole Alcock we can help you prepare for the future and make sure your documents are kept safely and ensure that your family knows where to find them.

For more information, or for an appointment to discuss your requirements, speak to one of our expert solicitors in our Wills and Probate team on 0800 389 7093. Alternatively you can visit our wills and probate services page here or complete the form linked here and we will call you back.

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