Legal Studies 1030

Section 3 - Laws Related to Wills to and Estates

Lesson 14 -Personal Directives

What is a Personal Directive in Alberta?

A Personal Directive is a document which allows a person to state in advance what medical treatment they wish to receive and decisions to be made regarding their accommodation, activities and other personal matters if they are unable to communicate with medical or nursing staff or other care givers.

Personal Directives are more commonly known as living wills as they primarily deal with the individual's wishes with respect to what type of medical care and intervention which they wish to receive or do not want to receive in circumstances of medical necessity during which the individual is unable to communicate with the attending medical personnel.

In a Personal Directive, the person appoints a family member or doctor who will have the authority to consent to or refuse medical procedures. The person can also specifically state what procedures they do not want to be undertaken, such as CPR, feeding tubes or artificial life support systems. Often, the person making the decision is requested to do so on the advice of the attending physician and with full knowledge of the consequences of refusing treatment.

(Can you think of any disadvantages to having a personal directive?)