What is an Advanced Health Directive (Living Will) and should I have one?


An Advanced Health Directive, or “Living Will”, enables you to give directions regarding your future medical treatment. It empowers you to record how you wish to be treated in future instances where you are unable to make decisions for yourself, due to incapacity.

Each Australian State has legislated for some form of Advanced Health Directive. In Western Australia, an Advanced Health Directive must be made in compliance with the standard form prescribed by regulations in order to recognised automatically. The intention of the legislation is to provide for Advanced Health Directives to be made which will bind the doctor treating you to act in accordance with the directive in circumstances where you no longer have the capacity to provide such instructions yourself.

The term “treatment” includes medical, surgical and dental treatments, including palliative care and life-sustaining measures. An Advanced Health Directive is only applied to your treatment decisions if you are unable to make reasoned judgments yourself.

Does an Advanced Health Directive take priority?

An Advanced Health Directive takes priority over any direction from an enduring guardian, except in very limited circumstances which your legal adviser will be able to explain to you.

To read more useful articles and tips about future proofing your will and estate planning, visit http://www.kottgunn.com.au/update/wills-estate-planning-and-trusts/

Please go to the Kott Gunning Wills, Estates & Trusts Frequently Asked Questions web page for more useful estate related questions and answers including –

What is an estate plan? What documents may be prepared? What do I need to tell my lawyer? I have written my own will, can this be used? What will be included in a legally prepared Will? What is an Enduring Power of Attorney? What are my options with Superannuation Fund Death Nominations?

If you have a particular question you would like answered on our Q&A page, please email your question to marketing @kottgunn.com.au

The information published in this paper is of a general nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Whilst we aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information, the law may change and circumstances may differ. You should not therefore act in reliance on it without first obtaining specific legal advice.