A Complete Estate Plan Includes A Personal Directive.
A complete estate plan includes a Personal Directive. This allows someone to act on your behalf in your non-financial personal care, if you lose your mental capacity to make your own decisions.
Making your plan now, while you maintain your mental capacity, ensures that the legal context is in place to allow someone you trust to manage your health and personal matters, if you become mentally incapacitated through injury, age or illness. Without one, your family may be forced to go to court to obtain proper documentation to act on your behalf.
Why is it important to have a Personal Directive?
The Province of Alberta recommends that every Albertan over the age of 18 should have a Personal Directive. It ensures that if you become incapable of managing your affairs, the person you designate in the Personal Directive as your agent will be able to lawfully act on your behalf. It gives them the legal authority to make decisions about your health and wellbeing.
Agents may make act or make decisions about your medical treatments, living arrangements, recreation, education and employment activities and may assist with other personal or legal non-financial decisions. However, they may not legally control your finances. You must designate a Power of Attorney if you want someone to manage your business and finances.
Personal Directives are Only Valid if Prepared When you are Mentally Capable
Although the effect of a Personal Directive occurs when you are mentally incapacitated (unless otherwise implemented), this document must be prepared while you are coherent. You must be able to understand the meaning of the document in order for it be valid.
This document allows you to plan and prepare for various situations, such as an illness or injury. You may name an agent in your Personal Directive to:
- To act when you lose mental capacity, either short term or long term
- To act temporarily until you are able to make your own decisions again
You may provide more than one person to act as your agents in a Personal Directive and set specific areas for their authority. An experienced lawyer will guide you through the legalities of this document to ensure you and your loved ones are in the best situation, at the worst of times.