Advance care directive

It is not uncommon for life-changing events to occur. Invariably this happens suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes an illness or an accident robs you of your capacity of judgement. In such cases, it is often unclear to relatives and persons close to you who is to safeguard your interests in the future and what the next steps should be. In order to counteract the uncertainty and to take account of your own wishes, we are happy to offer you guidance in setting up your advance care directive.

The advance care directive enables you to designate a natural or legal person to deal with your affairs should you lose your capacity of judgement. The advance care directive can cover both personal care and asset management as well as your representation in legal matters. We are happy to guide you through the stages of making your personal arrangements.

Questions concerning the “advance care directive”

The advance care directive must either be executed by hand or by notarial deed. A handwritten advance care directive must be written by hand from beginning to end. It must also be dated and signed. However, for reasons of legal certainty, it is appropriate to have it made in a notarial deed.

You can use the advance care directive to appoint any person you wish. This may be a natural or legal person. If there is an advance care directive and you lose your capacity to act, the competent Child and Adult Protection Authority (CAPA) checks whether the appointed person is suitable to perform the tasks.

It is also possible to appoint several persons to safeguard your interests. In such a case, however, it is advisable to specify who has the casting vote should a vote by consensus be ruled out.

In addition, if the appointed person is not suitable to perform the tasks, does not accept the contract or terminates it, it makes sense to make a replacement directive.

Usually the power of attorney applies from the date it is issued and expires when the loss of capacity of judgement occurs. The principal can also issue a power of attorney which survives the principal’s loss of capacity of judgement and the principal’s death.

Contrary to a power of attorney, the advance care directive becomes effective only after the loss of capacity of judgement occurs, when the Adult Protection Authority enforces it. The advance directive expires in the event of the person’s death or when he or she recovers his or her capacity of judgement.

The patient decree allows a person who is capable of judgement to determine the medical treatment he or she consents to and refuses in the event of loss of capacity of judgement. If an advance care directive relates only to representation in connection with medical treatment, it is materially a patient decree. Only natural persons may be entrusted with safeguarding health interests.