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Why you Need to Talk to Your Estates Lawyer About Your Personal Directive

A personal directive is a legal document that allows you to name someone to act as your agent to make personal decisions on your behalf in case you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself.  

The types of personal decisions that an agent may be required to make on a person’s behalf may include the following:

  • health care decisions
  • where the individual will live, i.e., at home or in a long term care facility
  • with whom the individual will live
  • what sorts of activities an individual can participate in

Obviously, the most critical decisions often relate to health care and where someone will live once they lose capacity. A properly drafted personal directive should include language that allows your agent to carry out your wishes in regards to your personal matters if you lose capacity. For example, if your goal is to remain living at home for as long as you are capable of independently doing so, your personal directive should include language to that effect. Without that language, your agent may be left guessing as to what you would want to happen when those circumstances inevitably arise.

A personal directive is not just something that should be in place for the elderly. Families with young children should have this document in place in case both of the parents are injured in a common accident that renders both of them incapable of taking care of their children for a period of time. A guardianship clause in the personal directive would allow those young children to be cared for properly during the period of incapacity.

For a consultation to review or discuss your personal directive, at Field Law, we have a team of Wills and Estates lawyers in Edmonton and Calgary who are available to assist you.