At some point, you may no longer have the mental capacity to make certain decisions regarding your care. In order to help you prepare for this eventuality, Prestige Tax and Trust Services explains how to make an advance statement.
What is an advance statement?
According to the NHS, an advance statement is “a written statement that sets down your preferences, wishes, beliefs and values regarding your future care.” It is designed to show anybody who may have to make decisions on your behalf, your wishes concerning your health and social care should you no longer have the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself.
There are two documents which can help in this situation. An advance statement and an advance decision. Despite both being referred to as a ‘living will,’ an advance statement is not the same thing as an advance decision. The latter is a document where you outline your wishes to refuse specific medical care at a later date. Also, an advance decision as long as it conforms to certain criteria, can be legally binding, an advance statement cannot be legally binding. However anybody who is making decisions about your care must take your advance statement into account.
Making an advance statement
There is no official form for making an advance statement. As long as you have the mental capacity, as defined under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, you can make an advance statement simply by writing the document yourself. Cover the following areas when writing your advance statement:
- Practical issues: What practical issues need to be taken into consideration if you need care? Say you have a dog – you might want to say in your advance statement who should care for you dog if you are no longer able to?
- Preferred lifestyle choices: How do you like to live your life? For instance, do you like to sleep with the light on? Do you prefer to take a bath or shower?
- Care location: Where would you like to receive care? For example, this could be your home, a hospital or hospice, or even a specific nursing home.
- Spiritual beliefs: Do you have any religious or spiritual beliefs that you wish to be reflected in your care?
Some of the above discussed issues may seem inconsequential. However, when making an advance statement it is vital that you create a comprehensive document which covers all aspects of how you wish to be cared for, in the eventuality that you no longer possess the mental capacity to make these decisions for yourself. We should note that you do not have to sign an advance statement, but we advise you to do so, as your signature makes it clear that the document was written by you.
After you have made an advance statement, keep it somewhere safe. Ensure a copy is included in your medical notes. By taking these courses of action, as well as informing your loved ones where copies of your advance statement are kept, you can ensure that people know how to determine your wishes concerning care, if you no longer possess the mental capacity to make your own decisions.
Prestige Tax and Trust Services
It is important that you prepare for the eventuality that one day, you may no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions on your own behalf. As well as making an advance decision and an advance statement, you might want to think about creating Lasting Powers of Attorneys to handle key financial and health matters. Prestige Tax and Trust Services possesses the legal expertise required to help you make a Lasting Power of Attorney and handle other issues relating to care.