top of page

Living Wills

What is a Living Will?

An Advance decision’ (commonly referred to as a living will) allows you to express your wishes about how you want to be treated and cared for in certain situations. It is sometimes referred to as a living will. An advance decision would become relevant if there came a time when you were unable to make or communicate your own decisions, for example, if you were unconscious or if you had advanced dementia.

living wills service plymouth

The term usually refers to an advance decision to refuse treatment:

if you feel strongly that there are some medical treatments you would not want to receive in certain circumstances you can formalise your wishes in an advance decision. It allows you to refuse treatment, even if this might lead to your death. An advance decision is legally binding which means that those caring for you must follow your instructions. However, it will only be used if you lose the capacity to make or communicate decisions about your treatment.

We support you to access and arrange a free ‘Living Will’ if you so wish , alongside each LPA for Health & Welfare that we complete

Advance decisions to refuse treatment

Consider whether there are any treatments you would not want to receive in certain situations, for example, if you suffering from a terminal condition, persistent unconsciousness or severe and permanent mental impairment, you may prefer to refuse life support, tube feeding or CPR (Resuscitation)

You should discuss your advance decision with a healthcare professional who knows your medical history and the risks and benefits of refusing certain treatments. You may also want to discuss it with your family and friends so that they understand your wishes.

An advance decision to refuse treatments:

  1. Must be clear about the circumstances under which you would not want to receive the specified treatment

  2. Should specify whether you want specific treatment, even if this could shorten your life.

  3. Can’t be used to request certain treatment

  4. Can’t be used to ask for your life to be ended.


How do I make an advance decision?

Advance decisions to refuse treatment

An advance decision needs to be in writing if you are refusing potentially life-sustaining treatment. It is good practice to write it down and give a copy to your loved ones and all involved in your care. Your GP and medical team must know about your advance decision so they can include it in your medical notes. You should review it regularly, and can change it at any time. You must make sure that you clearly communicate and record these changes, being sure to date and sign it in the presence of Witnesses.

If you want to refuse potentially life-sustaining treatment your decision must be in writing, signed, witnessed, and include the statement ‘even if life is at risk as a result.


We provide a straightforward template for you to complete alongside your Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney forms.

Advance statements

Advance statement of wishes can be recorded in an advance statement in any way it works for you. However it is a important to give a copy of your advance statement to all those involved in your care – especially your care staff, GP and medical team so that they know your wishes.


When making an advance statement, think about all the things that are important to you. You might like to include information on:


  • Where ideally you would like to be cared for (Home, care home, hospice etc)        

  • Your dietary requirements

  • Foods you do and don’t like

  • Whether you prefer baths or showers

  • What kind of clothes you prefer to wear

  • The type of music you like and what you like to watch on TV

  • Whether you like to sleep with a light on

  • The time you like to go to bed and rise in the morning.

  • Your religious or other beliefs and values

  • Who you want to be consulted about your care

  • Who you would like to visit you.

Click Compassion In Dying logo for more information

compassion in dying logo
  • Facebook App Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
bottom of page