A Living Will (Advanced Directive)

  • A Living Will allow you to refuse any specific treatments.

  • Decide if you would want to be resuscitated or placed on life support systems.

  • Receive specific invasive therapies.

  • State any other relevant requests.

How does it work?

  • You must be over the age of 18 and have mental capacity in order to prepare an Advance Directive.

  • An Advance Directive should be written clearly so that there is no doubt as to what is required. Like any Legal document, it should be stored safely.

  • Once an Advance Directive has been signed, dated and witnessed, you should make people close to you aware of its existence and discuss the content of this document with your GP who will ensure that your medical records are updated accordingly.

What are you not allowed to do?

You cannot use an Advance Directive to:

  • Ask for your life to be ended – although refusing treatment may end your life sooner.

  • Force doctors to act against their professional judgement.

  • Nominate someone else to decide about treatment on your behalf – unless you have prepared a Health and Welfare LPA.

  • Request treatment.

When might an Advance Directive not be allowed?

A Doctor might not act on an Advance Directive if:

  • The person has done anything clearly inconsistent with the manner in which they would normally behave.

  • Admission to hospital was as a result of an accident or other acute situation.

  • It is not clear about what should happen.

  • The person was under the age of 18 or being treated under the Mental Health Act at the time of writing the Advance Directive.


At LAWK, we are fully qualified and experienced in the drafting of Advance Directives and can offer appropriate advice to anyone considering this service.