What is a Personal Directive?
If you are in involved in a car accident and rendered unconscious, who will make the medical decisions that will be required? Or if you suddenly have a stroke or get Alzheimer’s Disease, who will make the decisions about your medical care?
A Personal Directive is a legal document that allows you to decide who will make your medical and other personal care decisions, if you cannot make them yourself because of a mental incapacity.
Why Do You Need a Personal Directive?
Unfortunately, the loss of the ability to make decisions about oneself is becoming a fact of life for a growing number of Albertans. It is estimated that at least 10% of Canadians over the age of 65 and 20% of those over 80, suffer from some form of dementia. If you do not have a Personal Directive, and are unable to make personal decisions about yourself, normally an application is made to the Court to appoint a guardian to make these decisions for you. A Personal Directive is an opportunity to appoint someone of your own choosing and to give them guidance as to how you would like them to make personal decisions on your behalf.
When Does A Personal Directive Become Effective?
After you have signed a Personal Directive, it only becomes effective when medical practitioners have given their written opinion that you have ceased to be able to make your own personal decisions.
Who Should I Appoint?
You should designate someone whose judgment you trust. That would normally be a spouse, close family member, a child, or a close friend. Obviously, before you give such person or persons the power to make decisions about your personal wellbeing, you want to make sure you trust that person implicitly to act in your own best interests.
Can I Revoke My Personal Directive After I Have Granted It?
You can certainly revoke your Personal Directive, as long as it is in writing, and provided that at the time that you revoke it, you are mentally capable of understanding the nature and effect of the revocation.
What Happens to my Personal Directive After I Die?
Your Personal Directive is automatically revoked by your death. Your Will, if you have one, will govern your affairs from that point forward.
When Should I Do A Personal Directive?
We recommend that you consider doing a Personal Directive as part of your estate plan, along with an Enduring Power of Attorney and an updated Will.
Can I Do A Personal Directive Myself?
You can do a Personal Directive yourself, however, as with all estate planning matters, we recommend that you consult a knowledgeable professional.