Advance Decision

As an Adult (over the age of 18) you make your own decisions about your healthcare. But, what if you were unable to do so due to an accident or ill health?

What is an Advance Decision (Living Will)?

An advance decision is something that you can put in place now to refuse specific types of medical treatment should you require them sometime in the future. These are sometimes known as a Living Will or an advance decision to refuse treatment (ADRT).

You must name every treatment that you wish to refuse in your advance decision. Similarly, you may want to refuse specific treatment in some situations but not in others, you must be clear about this writing your advance decision.

Deciding to refuse invasive and/or life-sustaining treatment, ventilation, CPR is not the same as asking someone to assist you in ending your life. Euthanasia is illegal in the UK.

Why put an Advance Decision in place?

Should you become unable to communicate – be that through mental or physical incapacity – you know that your Doctors and nurses are clear on the treatment that you do and do NOT wish to receive. This also removed the burden of making potentially traumatic decisions away from your loved ones.

You may find it useful to speak with your Doctor about the kinds of treatments you may be offered in the future.

How to put a legally binding Advance Decision in place

You must have mental capacity at the time the Advance Decision (Living Will) is made. Your wishes must then be written down, by you and signed by you and a witness.

Providing your Advance Decision (Living Will) complies with the Mental Capacity Act, and applies to the situation then it is valid and legally binding. The AD then overrules any decisions made in your best interest by other people.

An Advance Decision may only be considered valid if:

  • you are aged 18 or over and had the capacity to make, understand and communicate your decision when you made it
  • you specify clearly which treatments you wish to refuse
  • you explain the circumstances in which you wish to refuse them
  • it is signed by you and by a witness if you want to refuse life-sustaining treatment
  • you have made the advance decision of your own accord, without any harassment by anyone else
  • you haven’t said or done anything that would contradict the advance decision since you made it (for example, saying that you have changed your mind)
For all new enquiries please telephone 01322 664885
 or email