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Personal Care and Health Care Decisions

A personal directive is a legal document that allows individuals to plan ahead and make decisions about their healthcare, personal care, and financial affairs in the event they become unable to make these decisions for themselves due to illness or incapacity.  It is a type of advance care planning that can give individuals peace of mind knowing that their wishes will be respected even if they are no longer able to communicate them.  The directive provides instructions for the personal care and/or health care decisions by the person who makes the directive.  The instructions in this document are often referred to as a living will and appoint a person to carry out these wishes. 

A personal directive can be used to appoint someone, know as an agent or proxy, to make decisions on behalf of the individual only when they are unable to do so.  This agent can be a family member, friend, or trusted advisor.  The document can also provide instructions on a variety of matters, including medial treatments, housing, and end-of-life care. 

A personal directive permits an individual to ensure that his or her wishes are expressed while they are capable with respect to their personal care.  Duties and powers that can be exercised by the person appointed to make decisions for the person include personal care and health care decisions that may include a no heroic measures clause or advance instructions provided in cases of mental illness.  

The personal directive is only enforceable when the individual who has provided the directive is no longer able to make these decisions for him or herself. 

A lawyer should be consulted to draft a personal directive.  This directive will be enforceable if:

  • The requirements for creating a valid directive have been satisfied
    • The maker is incapable of making personal care decisions, and
    • The personal care provided is consistent with the direction or authority give in the personal directive.

 Personal directives are recognized in most Canadian provinces and territories, and each jurisdiction has its own laws and regulations governing their creation and use.  It is important to consult with a lawyer or legal professional to ensure that the personal directives meet all legal requirements and accurately reflects the individual’s wishes. 

This information is for discussion purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. There is no guarantee or warrant of information on this site and it should be noted that rules and laws change regularly. You should consult a professional before considering implementing or taking any action based on information on this site. Call our team for a consultation before taking any action. ©2023 Shajani CPA.

Shajani CPA is a CPA Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer firm and provides Accountant, Bookkeeping, Tax Advice and Tax Planning services.

Nizam Shajani, Partner, LLM, CPA, CA, TEP, MBA

I enjoy formulating plans that help my clients meet their objectives. It's this sense of pride in service that facilitates client success which forms the culture of Shajani CPA.

Shajani Professional Accountants has offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. We’re here to support you in all of your personal and business tax and other accounting needs.