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  • Writer's picturePeter Jones


Updated: May 9

What is an Advance Health Directive?

An Advance Health Directive is a document that contains your decisions about future treatment. Treatment includes medical, surgical and dental treatment and other health care.

You can make an Advance Health Directive in which you either provide consent, or refuse consent, to future treatment.

Why prepare an Advance Health Directive?

Some people, perhaps because of a personal experience, religious beliefs or advice from loved ones, feel it is important to specify the treatments they want, or do not want, to receive in the future.

However, you don’t have to prepare an Advance Health Directive. Each person should decide whether completing an Advance Health Directive is right for them or not.

What if I don’t make an Advance Health Directive?

If you have chosen not to make an Advance Health Directive, a treatment decision will be made on your behalf if you are unable to make the treatment decision for yourself. The treatment decision will be made by (in the following order of priority) your Enduring Guardian (if you have appointed one), your Guardian (if one has been appointed for you), or by a person responsible for you (such as your spouse, parent, child, sibling or unpaid carer).

When will my Advance Health Directive come into effect?

An Advance Health Directive comes into effect only if you are unable to make reasonable judgments about a treatment decision at the time that the treatment is required. In these circumstances, the Advance Health Directive acts as your ‘voice’.

Who can make an Advance Health Directive?

You may make an Advance Health Directive if you are at least 18 years of age and have full legal capacity. You have full legal capacity if you are capable of understanding the nature and effect of your Advance Health Directive. You may lack full legal capacity if your decision making is impaired, for example, by reason of illness, disease or injury, or the effects of medication, drugs or alcohol.

If you have any doubts about your capacity to make an effective Advance Health Directive, you should ask your doctor for an assessment.

For further information contact our team on (08) 9368 1337

Information provided by Willcraft Estate Planning Pty Ltd, An Incorporated Legal Practice.

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