Wickham Wills has been taken over by Hillman Legal Partnerships Ltd, effective 18 June 2015.

If you have any queries, you can contact Hillman Legal Partnerships Ltd on 020 8340 3102.

Living Wills or Advanced Directives

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Living Wills

(also commonly known as Advanced Directives or Advance Medical Decisions.)

WHAT IS IT? An Advance Medical Directive allows you to choose the type of medical treatment you are prepared to accept or refuse if your health deteriorates to a level that makes you unable to communicate your wishes. It also allows you to nominate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Many of us have a clear idea of what we want, but unless our medical wishes are formally recorded, those choices could be ignored because others are not aware of them, or their own views differ from yours.

WHAT IT DOES NOT DO. As euthanasia is illegal in the United Kingdom, it does not allow you to make that choice, however you can opt not to receive medical treatment that will prolong your life if you have no chance of recovery. You cannot choose to be denied comfort and food.

WHAT IF MY VIEWS CHANGE OVER TIME? As long as you have the mental capacity to do so, you can always change your mind and either destroy the current Advance Medical Directive, or write a new one. If you become seriously ill, you should reaffirm your wishes by re-signing the Advance Medical Directive.

WHAT IF I WANT SOME FLEXIBILITY FOR THE FUTURE? If you are not able to make choices, you can nominate a person, (your Medical Proxy), to make choices on your behalf.


When recording your choices, you state that your ability to recover needs to be assessed by at least two independent medical practitioners. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, medical practitioners and your Medical Proxy must adhere to the following statutory principles;

1. They must assume you have capacity unless it is established that you lack it.
2. You must be treated as having capacity unless all practicable steps to help you have been undertaken without success.
3. You must not be treated as not having capacity just because you make choices they might consider unwise.
4. All decisions must be in your best interest.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? Peace of mind. You choose what treatment you do or do not want. You choose who can make decisions on your behalf.