Why do I need a Personal Directive?

December 17, 2020

When you create a Personal Directive you choose someone to make personal decisions for you if you lose capacity someday.  This person is called an Agent. Your Agent only starts to act if a medical doctor determines you are mentally incapable of making such decisions for yourself.

The decisions your Agent will make for you include:

  • living arrangements,
  • employment activities, and
  • medical decisions.

Some people call this document a “living will.” You can leave instructions for the type of care you wish to receive at the end of your life.  This can include the withholding of life-prolonging treatment in certain situations. If you are opposed to any medical treatments or procedures you should include these wishes here too.

You can also leave other instructions regarding your living situation. For example, if you want to live in your home as long as possible, you can leave this instruction in your Personal Directive.

You need a Personal Directive because your spouse is not automatically your legal representative. If you lose capacity, no one can make these decisions for you without a Court Order. Your family would need to make before the Court of Queen’s Bench to appoint a Guardian to make personal decisions for you. This is a costly and time-consuming process that can avoided by executing a Personal Directive.