Increased publicity about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease has made people more aware of the possibility that at some point in their life they might not be able to act for themselves due to mental incapacity. Tragically, this can also happen as a result of other diseases and brain injury.
Living wills enable you to make decisions about what will happen to your property and money should you become incapacitated and unable to act for yourself – just as a will does.
A living will can also contain instructions about your care if you should become incapacitated – for example, instructions about resuscitation or who should make the decisions about your care.
Living wills comprise clauses known as advance statements or advance decisions.
It is advisable to make your wishes known to those close to you, as well as your GP or any doctors treating you – and by law, an advance decision to refuse treatment has to be in writing and signed by the patient, so making a living will can ensure that your wishes are known and respected.
Anyone over the age of 18 can make a living will – and anyone involved in an occupation where there is a higher risk of injury or incapacity might wish to consider this.
Anyone who takes part in dangerous sports might also wish to consider making a living will.
Those who have been diagnosed with degenerative conditions are also advised to make a living will, so that they can be confident of their wishes being carried out should they be unable to act for themselves.
However, anyone with dependants or who has strong wishes about their medical treatment or care, or how their property is distributed or managed, should take advice on making a living will.
Duncan Lewis Wills and Probate solicitors are uniquely placed to advise on living wills – the firm is also the leading provider of Legal Aid mental health services in the UK, and has a well-respected family law department specialising in the care of vulnerable people and Court of Protection cases.
Our Wills and Probate solicitors understand that dealing with such a sensitive issue may be upsetting – our lawyers will discuss the issues that affect you as an individual clearly, and help you make informed decisions about your care in the event you are unable to act for yourself.
We offer competitively-priced fixed fees for wills and probate matters, whenever possible – we aim to make the process of making a will or a living will accessible to everyone.
For expert legal advice on living wills, advice and representation on all mental capacity matters, call Duncan Lewis Wills and Probate solicitors in confidence on 0333 772 0409.