Susan, 75, is carer for her son, Brian, 40, who has muscular dystrophy and learning disabilities. Susan was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and is well aware that by the end of her illness she may not be capable of making her own decisions. She is also aware that Brian is not capable of making those decisions on her behalf.

 For religious reasons there is a division of beliefs in Susan’s family. Should Susan lose capacity, she wants to ensure her wishes as to her future care are carried out.

 Susan contacted her solicitor, Lauren, who prepared Medical Guardianship documents for her, appointing her friend Jenny as her legal guardian. Jenny holds the same beliefs as Susan and therefore Susan feels Jenny will ensure her wishes are carried out.

 Susan also completed an Advanced Health Care Directive to stand as evidence of her views and wishes in relation to her future treatment and care.

 Lauren advised Susan that completing a Medical Guardianship and Advanced Health Care Directive ensured not only that she appointed her friend to make the decisions should she lose mental capacity, but also that the Advanced Health Care directive would give her family a clear view of her wishes regarding her future care.

An Advanced Health Care Directive clearly states to your loved ones your wishes and beliefs as to your future care and treatment. It helps to take away any doubt about what you want to happen, as it is made while you still have full mental capacity. Doing this assists your appointed guardian to assure your other loved ones that the guardian is acting in your best interests and is following your beliefs, wishes and views on the treatment you are prepared to receive or accept. This is especially important if you have a strong belief about not being kept alive on life support systems, for example.

Alternatively, should you wish to leave all these decisions to your guardian, you need only to prepare Medical Guardianship documents.