From 12 March 2018 you will no longer be able to make an Enduring Powers of Attorney (Medical Treatment). Instead you can make an Advanced Care Directive. The Advanced Care Directive will consist of the appointment of a medical treatment decision maker and can have an instructional directive, which gives legally binding instructions about future treatment you consent to or refuse, and/or a values directive, which documents your values and preferences for future medical treatment.
Any Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment) made prior to 12 March 2018 will continue to be binding and valid.
The instructional and values directives are binding on all health practitioners and paramedics who need to actively enquire about an advanced care plan and follow it. To do otherwise may be professional misconduct.
We consider the new regime to be beneficial for individuals of any age, not just the elderly as an accident can happen to anyone at any time. Leaving your family or friends with clear and legally binding instructions will not only ensure your wishes are carried out but will make it easier for them to make such decisions.
A values directive and an instructional directive needs to be prepared by your lawyer but then taken to your medical practitioner for further discussion. They will make sure you understand the instructions you have outlined and their consequences. They will need to witness you signing the directives. A lawyer will prepare and witness the appointment of a medical treatment decision maker.
With this new opportunity I urge everyone to take the time to review your whole estate plan and consider implementing an advanced care directive.
Please contact Oakhill Lawyers who can review your estate plan and assist you to implement an advanced care directive.
For more information about the changes refer to the the Department of Health and Human Services health.vic website.