Have you made a Will?
Have you made a Lasting Power of Attorney?
In order for so.eone to deal with your affairs in the event that you are unable to make your own decisions, you will need to execute a lasting power of attorney. A lasting power of attorney is normally executed for property and finance.
With reference to your wishes upon your demise, these are best oneast with in a Will. I note you are in good health but you can never be too prepared. Any wishes in your will regards
ding what happens so to you after your death will be carried out by your executors.
With reference to decisions in the event you become incapacitated, these, again, would be covered by the lasting power of attorney. This is different from a general power of attorney.
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I have read the previous experts answer and appreciate your concerns. Hopefully, I can resolve this issue for you.
Is your concern that whoever is treating you will take no notice of your Advance Directive?
With regard to emergency services, obviously, they would not know about this nor, if you were taken into AEU would they know about it unless a friend or next of kin or relative were to produce the document.
I can tell you that if for any reason a post-mortem is deemed required, you have no control over that.
With regard to everything else that you mention where you would rather die than literally be living but with no life, then yes, your Advance Directive would cover most of that.
You are at liberty to refuse any treatment and that applies also to neurosurgery heart surgery, any surgery you like. If however the lack of psychiatric treatment would lead to you being a danger either to yourself or other people, the court has the power to order that treatment to take place.
With regard to other countries, would depend what the law is in those countries.
Regarding your funeral arrangements, these would normally be in your will (cremation/interment) and/or in a Letter of Wishes attached to your will. I appreciate from your previous post that you said you did not want to write a will you felt that you had no need for one but at least if you do that, someone will be aware of what your wishes are and can take control of those wishes.
Can I clarify anything for you?
The Advance Directive is legally binding in most cases and certainly with regard to DNR and refusal of treatment.
You’re absolutely correct that no one can be compelled to have a Power of Attorney although it does make sense to have one just in case something happens which is not life-threatening but leave you without the capacity to be able to manage your affairs.
If it’s a physical incapacity, you could always do a power of attorney at the time but if it is a mental incapacity, then someone else could apply for deputy ship over your affairs to look after them. So whilst it makes sense to have a power of attorney, you don’t have to have one.
Voluntary euthanasia and assisted dying is still illegal. Any provisions in that respect would currently not be enforceable. By all means make your wishes known.
Carrying a document of some description perhaps in your wallet and some kind of reference in your mobile phone under ICE as a contact (In Case of Emergency) may help as would one of these USB sticks which people carry round their neck containing information such as this.
With regard to any post-mortem, the body should be reassembled although there have been cases where organs have been illegally removed and kept for research purposes. However it is illegal.
Once the body is released, it would be dealt with in the usual way by the undertaker, cremation or interment.
Wishes in a will as to cremation or interment are legally binding but it’s unlikely that if the executors didn’t follow those wishes, anyone else would want to take legal proceedings to make them. However, it could be done.
You are able to refuse any treatment including psychiatric treatment as you have described.
The statement is made by a commercial organisation who have a vested interest in getting people to use their service. However, if someone has died, how would they know that you have signed up to this service?
You would be surprised how quickly after a death beneficiaries go searching for a will. We had one family come into our office asking for a will (they had no death certificate so couldn’t have it anyway) and when we asked when their parents had died, the answer was “15 minutes ago!”.
The secret is to make sure that everyone around you knows what your wishes are regardless of what’s in the will.
With regard to the will company you propose to use, I don’t know whether they are good bad or what. I can tell you that there are lots of instances where wills are lost because the company that is holding them has gone bust. If a solicitor closes down, there is always another firm that takes over the documents and records. Most solicitors will not charge for storing a will but may charge for retrieval.
The difficulty with temporary lack of capacity is deciding whether it is temporary or permanent and to what extent would the next of kin have any powers to deal with your affairs? They cannot deal with your affairs unless they have power of attorney.
You can limit the extent of the power of attorney as to what you wish them to do.
You’re absolutely right with regard to euthanasia. You can express their wishes in the AD they will just not be of any effect until such time as the law changes.
Organ Donation wishes are, legally binding. You have to consent otherwise… You cannot be taken.
The problem with funeral wishes is the if the executors decide to go against your wishes, there is unlikely to be anyone who would want to litigate it to change those wishes. If someone has been cremated then any litigation would be rather academic. If someone was buried, it would require a further order from the court to have the body exhumed.
25 years of the legal profession, I have not yet had at the executors go against the deceased wishes. We have had numerous arguments over ownership of the grave stone and wording on it however.
Many of these will companies are genuine. However if the company ceases to exist, copy documents will need a court application to have them admitted. I’m not trying to line solicitors pockets but as they will generally store wills for free, I can’t see any reason not to do that and use a solicitor.
I would always put two witnesses on any document of this nature. However do remember they don’t need any qualifications. The person witnesses the signature, not the document.
There are indeed 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney. Financial and personal.
As I said earlier, the difficulty is knowing whether the mental incapacity is permanent or not. A person may be expected to make a full recovery but not actually do so.
The important thing that whatever you do, you make sure that those around you know what your wishes are and whether documentation is kept.
Funeral wishes with regard to the choice of cremation or interment are usually in the will and if you wanted other arrangements such as type of music et cetera et cetera then a letter of wishes would normally be kept with the will.
The healthcare team would normally want either the original or a certified copy. A certified copy would only cost five quid from a solicitor and you could keep that in your wallet.
I can’t see why 2 witnesses is impractical. They can just be anyone. You could literally track people off the street and get them to witness your signature. The more removed they are from your affairs, the better.
In fact, an advanced direction doesn’t actually have to be writing unless it is a decision to refuse life-sustaining treatment. However unless it is in writing, then the can always be a dispute over whether that’s genuinely what you wished. Hence, it’s better to have it in writing. There can then be an allegation that you didn’t know what you doing and hence witnesses. The more witnesses to attest to your mental state and the fact that you did sign this document, the better.
If you are having 2 witnesses, they witness your signature so they have to be together when you sign the document although you can sign the document twice in the presence of each witness if they are not there together.
Certain documents need to be witnessed by a solicitor but they are few and far between. Affidavits, statutory declarations, and certain documents for the bank including some mortgage deeds when it is the lenders requirement. Legally, the mortgage deed can metaphorically be witnessed by the office cat! The witness only witnesses the signature, not the document. They don’t need to know what it is what is in it.
With regard to doctors taking notice of it, the GMC have produced this very short guideline: http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/end_of_life_binding_advance_refusals.asp
I obviously know what all the other mnemonics in the thread mean but I’m afraid that NOK escapes me.
DOH, of course. Using mnemonics can be very dangerous in a legal context. Say that they would be consulted in respect of “any other event” is probably going a little too far. They may be told about things but I think that consultation is probably going to be gilding the lily a little.
One witness is legally acceptable and I mentioned two purely to stave off any suggestion that you weren’t capable of agreeing this.
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