Monday, August 6, 2012

What are Advanced Health Directives?

One issue that comes up relatively regularly in estate planning exercises relates to Advanced Health Directives (AHD).

In most jurisdictions, an AHD is essentially a document addressed to a person’s medical practitioner setting out the level of care that they would like to receive in a series of specific situations.  Normally, the document is crafted as a 'multiple choice' questionnaire listing out dozens of typical medical scenarios.  The document is normally completed in conjunction with a client’s GP.

As the document is a medical, not legal, one, most lawyers simply provide access to the standard document rather than providing advice on it.

One important issue to note is that in no Australian state does an AHD create the ability for euthanasia style directions to be articulated.

While a person has legal capacity they may revoke their AHD at any time. 

In an upcoming post, we will look at some of the practical difficulties of AHDs.

Until next week.