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Advance Care Directive

Sometimes a person will want to make clear what their wishes, preferences, and instructions are for future health care, living arrangements, personal matters and for what happens when they are nearing the end of their life.

They may also want to appoint one or more people who can act as substitute decision makers for them when they are no longer able to make these decisions themselves.

Prior to July 2014 there were three forms that could be used to express a person’s wishes – which were Enduring Power of Guardianship, Medical Power of Attorney, and Anticipatory Directions. These were replaced by Advance Care Directives, the law for which came into force on 1 July 2014.

The Advance Care Directive is the only document you need to use to express your wishes, if you feel that this is what you want to do. It is a legal form, and it gives the people who care for you a clear understanding of what you would want for yourself if you ever lost the ability to communicate.

Some important points to note about the Advance Care Directives are:

  • If you already have an Enduring Power of Guardianship, a Medical Power of Attorney, and/or an Anticipatory Direction, and this was completed prior to 1 July 2014, these will continue to be legal. You do not have to complete an Advance Care Directive unless you wish to.
  • An Advance Care Directive cannot be used to provide direction on your financial matters. That is the purpose of a Enduring Power of Attorney
  • You cannot complete an Advance Care Directive if you are under 18 years of age.
  • No one can force you to either make an Advance Care Directive or include in your Advance Care Directive anything that is against your wishes. Any person who tries to force or coerce you in this way is committing an offence against the law.
  • You can change your Advance Care Directive at any time, given you still have the ability to make your own decisions, by completing a new Advance Care Directive Form.
  • The Public Trustee does not prepare Advance Care Directives.

To find out more about Advance Care Directives, to download the form, or to complete the form on-line, please visit the Advance Care Directives website.