Personal directive | How it works
Choose someone you trust to make decisions about personal matters for you if, in the future, you lose your ability to do so because of illness or injury.
What’s important to know
Planning ahead is the smart thing to do. Every Albertan who is 18 years of age or older should have:
A personal directive is like a living will, which outlines end-of-life wishes, but it’s broader. A personal directive can be about all health care decisions, where you live, the activities you take part in, etc.
You choose one or more persons you trust to make personal decisions for you if, in the future, you can’t make them yourself because of illness or injury. The person(s) you choose is called your agent.
Now is the time to plan ahead and write a personal directive (Video: 4 mins, 12.2 MB)
What is a personal directive? (Video: 5 mins, 9 MB)
You write a personal directive when you can still make your own decisions. Your agent does not step in until you need help, which is confirmed through a capacity assessment.
If you get better, you can take back the power to make your own decisions. This is also confirmed through a capacity assessment.
How do I write a personal directive?
Step-by-step instructions are available.
What kinds of decisions can an agent make?
Agents make decisions about personal matters, which include anything that isn’t related to money, such as:
- where you live
- who looks after your children
- health care
- education and training
- legal affairs
These are important decisions. Ideally, you want someone who knows you well to make them.
What’s an example of when a personal directive is used?
If you suffered a serious injury, you might be unable to make decisions. This could be temporary or long term. With a personal directive, the person(s) you named as your agent would have legal authority to make personal decisions for you.
Why write a personal directive?
If you lose the ability to make decisions and you don’t have a personal directive, a friend or family member may have to apply to the court to become your guardian, which takes time and money.
How long does it take?
When you and your witness sign your personal directive, it becomes a legal document. It’s easy to write, but you should also take time to talk with your agent(s) so they understand your wishes and beliefs.
Is there a cost?
There is no cost to write or register a personal directive.
What if I don’t have someone who can be my agent?
If you don’t have a family member or friend who can help, you can ask the Public Guardian to be your agent. You have to ask them before you sign your personal directive.
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