What is an Advance Personal Plan?
An Advance Personal Plan (APP), also known as a ‘living will’, is a document that allows you to make decisions about your future health, financial and lifestyle preferences should you lose decision-making capacity whether as a result of age, illness, accident or otherwise.
You must have decision-making capacity to make an APP (as when you make a will), and it will only take effect when you lose decision-making capacity. Your APP ceases to have effect when you revoke it, regain decision-making capacity or pass away. It does not affect or replace your will.
What can an Advance Personal Plan include?
Your APP can contain any or all of the following components, dependant on your personal preferences:
- Advance consent decisions are legally binding consent decisions relating to your future health care. By completing an advance consent decision as part of your APP, you will control how and what treatment you are provided once you have lost decision-making capacity. Medical professionals are legally bound to abide by your decisions.
- Advance care statements detail your beliefs, views and wishes as to how you want to be treated in relation to any future health, financial or lifestyle matter. Unlike advance consent decisions, they do not provide directives for future treatment; they simply provide guidance as to your personal views relating to lifestyle matters.
- Appointment of a substitute decision maker/s is probably the most important part of your APP. The person/s you appoint should be someone you trust to act in your best interests; for example, a spouse/partner, parent, adult child, close relative or friend. You can nominate separate decision makers for different purposes; for example, a person for health and lifestyle decisions and a different person or institution to manage your financial affairs.