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Health Care Directives

Formerly known as “Living Wills” Health Care Directives or Advance Directives, are vital documents for estate planning. They set out a person’s wishes for end of life decisions.

The Health Care Directive gives us an opportunity to choose different levels of treatment according to our values and beliefs. It is invaluable for family members who may be faced with having to make decisions on your behalf by laying out what your wishes would be both in an emergency situation, and at end of life. It is a practical and inexpensive way to ensure that your wishes are made known to family and health care providers.

We usually ask you if you want to include this important document with your Will. If you already have a will, you can still come in to ask for assistance in preparing this directive.

It is important to note that the Health Care Directive is a set of instructions. It DOES NOT actually appoint the person who should make the decisions for you. By law (Health Care (Consent) and Care Facilty (Admission) Act [RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 181 Part 2, Sec. 16) in British Columbia, if you have a spouse or children, they can make emergency decisions for you (based on your written instructions or based on information you have previously given them verbally). If you do not have a spouse, or children, or if your children do not get along, it would be very important for you to have a Representation Agreement, which would set out WHO would make those decisions on your behalf.

Under the new legislation, an Advance Directive is a document that allows a person to state what his/her wishes are for emergency and end of life care. It is directed to the health care provider and ELIMINATES consultation with family members. One should not do an Advance Directive without some serious self education and consultation with a physician or Notary.