Personal Directives In Edmonton

What is a Personal Directive?

A personal directive is a written document made under the Personal Directive Act of Alberta (RSA 2000 Chapter P-6).  A personal directive gives another person the authority to make decisions for you regarding your health and medical treatment.  You would give such a person this authority only if you became incapable of making these decisions on your own behalf, due to mental inability likely caused by declining health.  Essentially you give another person the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf once you become mentally incapacitated. You create the document while you are healthy and of sound mind, but the document only takes effect once you becomes incapable of making such decisions on your own behalf.

A personal directive usually includes such things who will act as your agent and make decisions on your behalf, who will determine whether you have lost your mental capacity, who is to be notified once the personal directive has come into effect, and who may access confidential information in such an event. A personal directive does NOT govern financial affairs.  For this there is typically a second document, called a Power of Attorney.

There are detailed rules regarding the formalities that must be complied with in order for the personal directive to be valid.  For example, a personal directive must be dated, signed at the end by the person making it and it must be in the presence of the person making it.  The witness CANNOT be the agent, or the agent’s spouse or the makers spouse.

Personal directives come into effect upon the maker losing the capacity to make a decision.  The testator chooses who will determine capacity in the personal directive.  Agents must be over 18 years of age and have the capacity to make personal decisions on behalf of the maker. According to the Personal Directives Act, an agent’s decision has the same effect as if the maker had made the decision him/herself.  There are certain things that an agent cannot make decisions about, such organ transplants etc.  Talk to a lawyer. An agent is not liable for any actions that are taken in good faith.  Personal directives can be revoked in a number of ways.  Talk to a lawyer.

Alberta Personal Directives Act

(Revised Statutes of Alberta 2000, Chapter P-6)

Here are a few of the sections from the Personal Directives Act to give just a few examples of what is contained in the Act.  Talk to a lawyer! Part 2 Personal Directives Who can make a personal directive 3(1) Any person who is at least 18 years of age and understands the nature and effect of a personal directive may make a personal directive. (2) A person who is at least 18 years of age is presumed to understand the nature and effect of a personal directive. Personal directive by dependent adult 4 Despite section 3, a represented adult may not make a personal directive with respect to a matter over which the represented adult’s guardian has authority. Requirements of personal directive 5(1) A personal directive must

(a) be in writing,

(b) be dated,

(c) be signed at the end

(i) by the maker in the presence of a witness, or

(ii) if the maker is physically unable to sign the directive,

by another person on behalf of the maker, at the maker’s direction and in the presence of both the maker and a witness, and

(d) be signed by the witness referred to in clause (c) in the presence of the maker.

(2)The following persons may not sign a personal directive on behalf of the maker:

(a) a person designated in the directive as an agent;

(b) the spouse or adult interdependent partner of a person designated in the directive as an agent.

(3)The following persons may not witness the signing of a personal directive:

(a) a person designated in the directive as an agent;

(b) the spouse or adult interdependent partner of a person

designated in the directive as an agent;

(c) the spouse or adult interdependent partner of the maker;

(d) a person who signs the directive on behalf of the maker;

(e) the spouse or adult interdependent partner of a person who signs the directive on behalf of the maker.

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