Take control of end-of-life care with a ‘living will’

Most people have felt their mortality a little more keenly than usual in the last year of  pandemic living, and I’m sure many of us have wondered what would happen if we fell seriously ill from Covid-19 or some other medical issue. 

One way to exert some more influence over the process, should the worst happen, is to draft a living will, or as it’s known in Ontario – an “advance directive.” 

Whatever you call them, these documents are the perfect companion to a power of attorney for personal care, which typically kicks in when the grantor becomes incapable of handling their own affairs. 

While the POA controls who will be making your health-related decisions once you’re incapacitated, the ideal advance directive provides that person with a more detailed guide for what your care should look like as you approach the end of life. 

An advance directive should outline your preferences when it comes to health conditions and treatment. The level of detail will depend on how deep you want to get into the weeds, but it should at least cover things like the level of medical intervention you’d be comfortable with in certain situations, as well as palliative care measures. An experienced lawyer can help you make sure everything you want is accounted for in the document 

A living will doesn’t get any specific recognition in Ontario’s estate legislation, but attorneys for personal care are bound by law to respect and follow wishes and preferences expressed by the grantor in advance of their incapacity.

In my experience, attorneys will usually be grateful for any guidance you can offer, because it can be a huge job taking over responsibility for a person’s health care decisions, including issues like nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and safety. 

Disclaimer: The content on this web site is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Users of this website are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting members of Laredo Law (or their own legal counsel) regarding any specific legal issues.

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