What is an Advance Decision? 

An Advance Decision is a legally binding document that sets out the decisions and choices about the medical treatment you want or more importantly don’t want to have in the future. This means that healthcare staff and others will know your wishes even if you become unable to communicate or unable to make a decision. Importantly an Advance Decision can make it clear whether you would want to receive life sustaining medical treatment or not, and under what circumstances.

How do I make an Advance Decision?

Compassion in Dying provides a free Advance Decision pack which is simple to use and can be completed without having to use a solicitor. Download your Advance Decision pack here.

Is it set in stone?

No. You can change your Advance Decision at any time as long as you are able to communicate and you have mental capacity to make your decisions. Therefore, the more regularly you review and update this the better!

An Advance Decision can only come into effect after a discussion between your doctor, your relatives and friends, and the person you have appointed to make decisions about your health (if you have appointed one). You must sign and date your Advance Decision in the presence of one witness who must also sign and date the document.

What is a Lasting Power of Power of Attorney (LPA)?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a person who can make decisions for you if you do not have the mental capacity to make them for yourself in the future. It is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if, for example, you have an accident/illness and can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made.

It’s worth remembering:

You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity when you make your LPA.
You don’t need to live in the UK or be a British citizen.

1) A health and welfare LPA can make decisions about:
- Your daily routine
- Your medical care
- Whether you should move into a care home
- Life-sustaining treatment.

The person/s appointed can only make these decisions when you are unable to make your own decisions.

2) A property and financial affairs LPA who can make decisions about:
- Managing your bank and building society accounts
- Paying your bills
- Collecting your benefits or pension
- Selling your home.

The person/s appointed can make these decisions as soon as the LPA is registered with your permission.

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