An Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment allows you to refuse treatment in advance of a time when you don’t have the capacity to make a decision for yourself. It’s commonly shortened to Advance Decision, and that’s the term we use throughout this website. It used to be called a Living Will, and is sometimes called an Advance Directive.
An Advance Decision only comes into effect if you cannot make a decision for yourself, or cannot communicate. If you have capacity you will still be able to make your own decisions.
The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) made Advance Decisions legally binding. This means that as long as an Advance Decision is ‘valid’ and ‘applicable’ then any refusal of treatment within it is legally binding in England and Wales. This means that if a doctor knowingly ignores an Advance Decision they can face criminal prosecution or civil liability.
“ The Advance Decision will take the responsibility out of the hands of my loved ones. They and the doctors know what my wishes are, and will be spared having to make terribly difficult decisions ”Sarah, Cambridge
Making an Advance Decision (Living Will)
The links below contain all the information you need to make an Advance Decision:
- What can I refuse in an Advance Decision?
- What can’t I use an Advance Decision for?
- How do I make an Advance Decision?
- How will people know about my Advance Decision?
- How can I make sure my Advance Decision is respected?
- Reviewing and updating my Advance Decision
- Talking to my doctor about my Advance Decision
- I have a Living Will do I need an Advance Decision?