This page provides a plain-English overview of the legal processes involved in planning ahead, as well as links to local information. To get advice about your individual circumstances it is recommended that you consult with one of the agencies referred to below or a legal practitioner.
Apart from nominating a substitute decision-maker, how else can I document my wishes?
- While having conversations about your wishes is crucial, it is strongly recommended that you also document your wishes in at least one of the ways outlined below. This will avoid situations such as the person(s) you have spoken with not quite remembering what you had said, the person not being available when decisions need to be made or the person not relaying your views if they were not really in agreement with them.
Include instructions in the appointment of your Enduring Guardian
- The form allows you to specify conditions that the Enduring Guardian must observe when making decisions on your behalf.
Make a written statement of your wishes
- This may be a general statement of your values, wishes and preferences. It may also include directions about whether you would, or would not, consent to specific treatments in particular circumstances.
- This type of document is often referred to as a ‘common law directive’ because it potentially has a legal basis in common law (law decided by courts rather than legislation).
- A common law directive written by you needs to be used to guide anyone who has to make decisions on your behalf.
- There are different opinions about the degree to which common law directives are legally binding, and there have been no court findings in Tasmania to give clear guidance on this.
- If you choose to make a common law directive, it is strongly recommended that you use one of the forms developed for this purpose and that you have the form witnessed. This will increase the likelihood that your directive will be accepted and acted on if the need arises.
- A common law directive has been developed in Tasmania by the Department of Health and Human Services. It is called the Advance Care Directive for Care at the End of Life (Tasmania) and it is capable of being accepted by Tasmanian hospitals – see the link below.
Whatever type of documents you make, it is vital to give copies to people who may have to make decisions for you in the future and to make sure they understand how you want them to use these documents.
Links to local resources
To download a copy of the Advance Care Directive for Care at the End of Life (Tasmania), go to the website of the Department of Health and Human Services here