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Are Living Wills Legally Binding Documents?

According to Canadian law, a living will is a written instrument establishing specific directives to be followed regarding medical care if the maker of the document is unable to make these decisions for his or her self.

As a trusted provider of long-term home care in Toronto, we wanted to share some information about living wills. It is important for families to understand the importance of this document and how it can assist your loved one should they be unable to independently make a decision regarding their health care. Provided that a living will is drafted and executed properly, it is a binding instrument that is expected to be honoured in Canada.

Standard Form Living Will

In order to ensure that a living will is properly drafted, many people elect to utilize a standard form version of the instrument. These standard forms typically can be obtained from hospitals and medical centers as well as from some churches and other religious organizations. As an aside, it is important to make sure when using a standard form that it is the most recent derivation of the document consistent with any changes that may have occurred in the applicable law. Another avenue to take is to have an attorney draft a living will. This will ensure that the living will meets the requirements of the law and is enforceable when the time comes for its use.

Voluntary Act

A living will is only valid and considered a legally binding document if it is knowingly and voluntarily entered into by the person who signed the instrument. A person cannot be forced to sign a living will and the individual must understand what he or she is doing when signing a living will. This point is especially important for families of seniors who have been diagnosed with a memory-related condition such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. As a disease like dementia progresses, the senior will no longer be able to competently make decisions. Therefore, families must file these documents as soon as possible to ensure that their loved one’s wishes are heard, understood and carried out. Click here for more information about dementia care in Toronto.

Although it can be difficult to broach the topic of a living will with an aging parent, doing so helps to ensure their comfort and their wishes in their final days. To learn more about caring for an aging parent or loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Toronto.  We are a trusted home care provider, offering highly trained and compassionate caregivers who can provide Toronto hourly home care on an as-needed basis, as well as live-in care for seniors who need additional monitoring and support. Call 416-488-8777 to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.