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A Brief Guide on Living Wills



A Brief Guide on Living Wills

The most essential right that Law enforces is the right to make one’s own decisions. We are nothing if we can’t decide for ourselves, and the law understands the importance of decisions. It is especially important when it is related to one’s medical treatment, Wills, Probate, and estate planning.

One popular belief is that Wills are no good when one’s living— but it’s a misconception. Contrary to this popular opinion, Wills can also protect you when living. By creating a “Living Will,” you can protect yourself.

A Living Will is also known as an advance care directive. It’s a legal document that helps when one can’t make decisions because of a life-changing event, such as an accident. It contains your needs, preferences, values, and the details of a substitute decision-maker.

This Will can even take precedence over other estate documents if prepared and executed correctly. Read until the end as we discuss more crucial details about living Wills in this guide.

Why are Living Wills Important?

It’s impossible to know the future, particularly involving one’s health.

Even when a person’s health is in doubt, they will probably have values and ideas about how they want to spend the rest of their life. If and when they later lose the ability to convey their health and medical desires, a living Will ensures that they are carried out.

The living Will is a legally enforceable agreement that offers instructions about future medical care that one agrees to or refuses. It prevents their loved ones from having to make tough decisions about any medical procedures the Will-maker might need.

This document can also outline preferences based on cultural and ethical norms. For instance, one may say they want euthanasia if the quality of life does not match their ideals.


  • What does “living well” mean to you?
  • What medical treatments would or wouldn’t you approve of?
  • What are your preferences in spiritual care?
  • Where do you stand with your cultural beliefs?

What are the Types of Directives??

Primarily, there are two directives in living Wills— values directive and instructional directive. A values directive is your general preference for medical treatments. For example, your Will may say, “quality of life is important to me.” This helps your decision-maker a great deal.

However, an instructional directive is a specific instruction which is legally binding. With this, you either consent to or refuse specific medical treatments. For example: “I don’t wish for resuscitation.”

How to Make a Living Will?

Each state and territory will have its procedures and regulations for estate planning, including writing a Living Will and Probate. You may get the necessary paperwork online.

You do not need a lawyer to create this Will; you only need to be able to make decisions. After you have drafted your Living Will, you sign and date it. Then your doctor and the person you have chosen to decide for you must sign it.

More importantly, you should note that a Living Will is made in addition to your last Will and testament but not in lieu of it. Keep your Living Will accessible and think about revisiting it if your beliefs or health circumstances change.

Also, you need to provide copies of your Living Will to your family, substitute decision-maker, hospital, doctor, and lawyer.

Why Should You Consider the Area for Living Wills?

In Australia, you will find different procedures to follow for creating Living Wills in different areas. For example, the procedure varies from South Australia to Victoria. These variations based on the area are also common in probate and other estate planning procedures.

Let us give you a deeper look at it.

  • South Australia– The form is only valid when it’s signed by an independent and authorised witness, such as a lawyer, doctor, nurse, Justice of the Peace, pharmacist, teacher, or a public servant.
  • Victoria– The directive must be witnessed by two independent adults, one of whom is a registered medical practitioner.
  • NSW– Here, even if no one witnesses the directive, it is still legally enforceable. However, it’s recommended to have it signed to be on the safe side.
  • Queensland– The witness must be 21 years old and either a lawyer, notary public, commissioner for declaration, or a Justice of the peace. Specifically, a witness mustn’t be your relation, attorney, beneficiary under your Will, or your current paid caregiver or health provider.

Thus, one must consider their area before creating a Living Will. Otherwise, it can be tough to make it enforceable.

Final Thoughts

Similar to other estate planning documents, a Living Will is also an important document that informs your near and dear people of your end-of-life decisions. If not for this essential, one’s family may need to make many tough decisions without any help.

Thus, it’s advised to create a Living Will if you have specific feelings and opinions regarding your life.

Also, it’s important to revisit these documents at least every two years and make tweaks if necessary. This will take off the burden of decisions from you and your family.

We hope this quick guide helped you understand what Living Wills are and how you can design your life as you wish. It is understandable if you seek some help in all this, given it’s a big life decision.

If so, you can talk to Probate Consultants. Their expertise in Wills and estate planning is incredibly reliable and efficient. You can also get a free consultation with one of their experts and discuss your problem.

Feel free to comment if you have any further questions regarding Living Wills, Probate NSW, or any other estate planning procedure.