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Personal Directives

The Personal Directives Act

The Personal Directives Act in Alberta addresses the situation where you lose capacity and are unable to make personal decisions on your own behalf. It was created in response to a growing demand from the public and health care institutions for a law governing the care and treatment of the severely injured or disabled. The Personal Directives Act is aimed at giving you the opportunity now to make important health and personal decisions for the future, in the event you ever become mentally incapable.

A Personal Directive allows you to, among other things, choose the level and type of medical treatment to be administered (or not administered) in the event you become mentally incapable in the future. This is done by appointing a friend or family member to be your agent to make those decisions. Caregivers are required to obey the clear directions of your agent. Your agent is excused from blame for any decisions made in good faith on your behalf.

Setting out your clear instructions with respect to medical treatment can avoid family disagreements and costly and lengthy procedures to gain court approval. A Personal Directive is a simple and preventative solution that ensures that you maintain control over what happens to you in the event of incapacity.

A Personal Directive may be particularly important for those who are advancing in years or are at risk of serious health problems. While it does not cover financial matters, it may be used in tandem with an Enduring Power of Attorney.

What You Need to Know

  • The Personal Directives Act allows you to pick an individual known as an agent to make personal decisions if you are ever mentally incapable.
  • The Personal Directives Act allows you to prepare for future medical and health decisions.
  • If you made a “Living Will” in the past, the law will not recognize it.