Personal Directives Act Alberta

Personal Directives and Living Wills

As humans, we are faced with risk every day. However, by preparing for the future, we can ensure those we love are protected and cared for when we are no longer able to support them. Having a Will, Power of Attorney, and Personal Directive in place ensures you and your loved ones have full control over life’s events.

A Personal Directive is a legal document which allows your chosen representative, who knows your values and wishes, to make personal decisions on your behalf when you are no longer capable of making them. These wishes can include anything from your choice of medical treatment, body organ donation, and end of life procedures to instructions regarding your children.

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Is a Personal Directive the Same as a Living Will in Alberta?

A Personal Directive and a Living Will are similar in that they are both legal documents used to provide directions for individuals when they can no longer make decisions for themselves. However, in Alberta, there are no “Living Wills.” Instead, there are Personal Directives. This legal document is governed by the rules of the Personal Directives Act set out by the Albertan government.

What Happens if You Don’t Have a Personal Directive in Place

Without a Personal Directive, the law will determine who is appointed to make decisions on your behalf. This can create conflict between family members and prevent you from receiving treatment and care in accordance with your own life’s decisions. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you write a Personal Directive.

Who Can You Appoint in a Personal Directive?

In Alberta, the person you appoint to make decisions on your behalf under the Personal Directive is called your agent. You can appoint a Personal Directive to any adult who is 18 years or older and understands the gravity of their decision-making. The person you choose must be someone who knows your values and wishes and can act upon them in the way that you would have wanted. You should also ensure that your chosen representative is responsible and able to perform the role to the best of their ability.

Some people may choose a family member, friend, or trusted professional to act as their agent under the Personal Directive. The individual appointed can be an attorney appointed under your power-of-attorney document. Alternatively, one can select the Office of Public Guardian as the agent under the Personal Directive. However, it cannot be someone incapable of managing their own affairs.

You can also appoint a substitute Personal Directive who will take over if your original representative cannot fulfill their duties due to death or illness. This individual will have the same rights and responsibilities as the original agent, so choosing someone who understands what they are getting into is just as important.

Your appointed representatives will have access to all medical information related to your care when required and any other personal information they may need to act on your behalf per your wishes. It is important to remember that these individuals cannot make decisions regarding finances, property, or legal matters unless additional Power of Attorney have been granted by you beforehand.

When Does a Personal Directive Come Into Effect?

A Personal Directive takes effect when you lack the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. This can be determined by a medical practitioner or an appointed representative, based on their professional judgment and in accordance with the law.

Generally speaking, this occurs when someone is unable to communicate their wishes effectively due to mental incapacity. For instance, if an individual has suffered a stroke or another debilitating medical condition that leaves them unable to understand the information that is relevant to making a personal decision and the ability to appreciate the consequences of the decision.

It is important to ensure that your Personal Directive reflects your wishes accurately so that those you love are cared for in the way you would have wanted them to be. It is also important to note that a Personal Directive does not override any power of attorney documents already in place, nor does it give anyone control over finances or legal matters. Rather, it serves as a way for individuals to ensure their non-financial matters, values, and wishes are respected, even when they cannot make their own choices.

Is a Personal Directive the Same as a Living Will in Alberta?

A Personal Directive and a Living Will are similar in that they are both legal documents used to provide directions for individuals when they can no longer make decisions for themselves. However, in Alberta, there are no “Living Wills.” Instead, there are Personal Directives. This legal document is governed by the rules of the Personal Directives Act set out by the Albertan government.

What Should Be Included in Your Personal Directive in Alberta

A Personal Directive is a written declaration that should include detailed instructions on the types of decisions you want to make on your behalf when you can no longer make them.

These instructions can range from your choice of medical treatments and end-of-life procedures to clear instructions regarding your children, body organ donation, and more. Therefore, it is essential to consider all potential scenarios and list the specific wishes you would like carried out in each situation.

The document should also include a list of people whom you trust and wish to designate as representatives for carrying out your wishes. These representatives should be familiar with your values and have an understanding of what you would want to happen in certain situations. It is also important for them to know about any religious beliefs or customs that may need to be considered when making decisions on your behalf.

In addition, a Personal Directive should include contact information for healthcare providers who have been involved in your care and any other individuals who may be called upon in an emergency or crisis situation. This will ensure that those making decisions have access to the necessary information and resources they need.

How to Change or Update Your Personal Directive When Necessary

It is essential to review and update your Personal Directive periodically to ensure your wishes are accurately represented in an emergency or crisis situation. If circumstances change, such as life events like marriage, divorce, children being born, or changes in health conditions, it is essential that you revisit and adjust your Personal Directive form accordingly.

Updating a Personal Directive can be done by creating a new document. It is recommended to consult with an estate planning lawyer to ensure the document meets all requirements for legal validity and is properly executed. An updated document should include any new representatives you wish to appoint, provide additional instructions regarding medical treatments, health care decisions, or end-of-life wishes, and include any additional financial details if necessary. When making changes to an existing Personal Directives form, it is vital to ensure that all parties involved have been informed of the amendments.

Finally, it is crucial for loved ones who may be responsible for carrying out your wishes in accordance with the Personal Directive to understand where it can be found in case of an emergency. Making sure family members or your public guardian know where copies are stored can avoid confusion and help ensure that decisions are made according to your wishes.

Creating your Personal Directive in Alberta

To ensure peace of mind for those involved, having an up-to-date Personal Directive that properly reflects your values and wishes can provide comfort that matters will be taken care of when you’re no longer able to make decisions on your own behalf. Taking the time now to create or update a Personal Directive will provide security and protection for yourself and those around you in times of need.

At DLegal, we can walk you through the estate planning process with ease and compassion.

  1. We will meet to assess your wishes and needs to decide on the most appropriate estate planning approach for you. Our easy-to-follow questionnaire will guide you through all your options, so we leave no stone unturned during our initial appointment. Whether this is your first time drafting the estate planning paperwork or your life circumstances have changed, we’ve compiled a convenient and affordable package consisting of a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, and a Personal Directive. The three documents cover instances of both death and incapacity, so you can have peace of mind that you are fully protected on all fronts. Drafting all three documents at once also allows us to ensure they are consistent with one another, meanwhile offering you some cost savings in the process. If you are not able to visit us in-person, we are happy to assist you online or over the phone.
  2. Once we have a good understanding of your requests, we will take approximately 5-10 business days to draft the documents in accordance with your wishes and instructions. If you need your documents within 72 hours, ask us about our rush fee; based on availability we can assist with same day delivery for urgent matters.
  3. You will then receive your draft for review. You can take some time to reflect and ensure you are happy with your decisions or identify any further changes that must be made.
  4. During our second meeting we will discuss and sign the documents together, thus bringing your wishes into a legally enforceable effect. Once signed, you will take the original home with you and we retain a copy.
  5. In the circumstance of life changes or when your children grow up and changes must be made to your existing estate plan, we will happily welcome you back and assist you with any and all necessary changes.

As your lawyer, we are here for you for life through every chapter to ensure you are always protected and your personal freedoms and wishes are met.

Personal Directive Fees

Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, and Personal Directives

Full Package (Will, Enduring Power of Attorney & Personal Directive) $799 (Individual) or $999 (Couple)
Will $649 (Individual) or $799 (Couple)
Codicil $399 (Individual) or $449 (Couple)
Enduring Power of Attorney $349 (Individual) or $499 (Couple)
Personal Directive $349 (Individual) or $399 (Couple)
Special/General Power of Attorney $349
Home/Hospital Visit $250/hr
Rush Fee $349 (Individual) or $499 (Couple)

Flat rate does not apply to complex situations, such as disagreements over the treatment of children from previous marriages, children out of wedlock without support, complex instructions regarding dependents with disabilities, complex estate or control over the distribution of the estate, and instructions to disinherit a family member. A rush fee will apply if you require your documents within 72 hours.

Lawyer & Notary
Anna Dunaeva

Anna perpetually works to surpass her clients' expectations. Through continuous communication, Anna delivers on her commitment to keep clients at the centre of her practice.

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