No one likes to think about getting sick but making plans for unforeseen events could make things much less stressful for loved ones. Estate planning could include an advance care directive — a document that stipulates a person’s wishes regarding medical care should the individual be incapacitated and thus unable to make those decisions. Those in Canada who have a serious illness might wish to discuss their wishes with their health care teams as well as family members, but having a document in place is a wise move.
An advance care plan or directive has also been called a living will. It is a legal document that allows individuals to appoint someone to make a decision on their behalf if they’re too ill or unable to speak for themselves. Known as a substitute decision maker or health care proxy — it is to this person healthcare personnel will turn to ask questions about care issues for the person that appointed them.
Even though a person’s wishes have been written in a document, the writer should discuss those issues with his or her substitute decision-maker. A copy of the advance care plan or directive should be given to health care professionals and to the substitute decision-maker named in it. An advance care directive is a living document which can be changed if the writer so chooses.
A lawyer in Canada would be able to help someone fashion an advance care plan. The wording should be legally sound — something an estate planning lawyer would be able to ensure. Such documents can be confusing and overwhelming and a compassionate lawyer can help.
Source: vrtualhospice.ca, “Advance care planning and decision making across Canada“, Accessed on Dec. 18, 2017