A living will is a statement expressing your views and wishes on how you would or would
not like to be treated if you are unable to make decisions about your treatment yourself at the relevant time in
They are legally referred to as an Advance Decision in England and an Advance Directive in
In England they are legally enforceable under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and must be
followed by healthcare professionals.
In Scotland, Advance Directives are not legally enforceable under the Adults with
Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, but one of the general principles of the Act states that the wishes of the adult
should be taken into consideration when acting or making a decision on their behalf.
A living will is a document setting out the circumstances under which you would not
want to receive life-sustaining medical treatment if you became seriously ill in the future and were incapable of
making your own healthcare decisions. The sorts of treatments commonly covered by Living Wills are artificial
feeding, mechanical ventilation, antibiotic therapy and resuscitation.
It must be signed whilst you are still mentally capable.
The document should contain provision for details of your GP but it is not
obligatory to discuss your Living Will in advance with him or her, although it may be helpful to do so.
Advance Decisions or Directives should be regularly reviewed and updated to take into
account medical advances and new drug treatments, as well as changes to your own views and preferences.
A Living Will can be cancelled at any time, either verbally or in writing, while you still
have capacity to do so.
For more comprehensive information please read www.lastingpowerattorney.co.uk