Making a Personal Directive – How does it end?

How does it end?

Top 5 Questions about how Personal Directives Stop Having Effect

When does a Personal Directive generally end?

A Personal Directive generally lasts until:

  • you die;
  • you revoke it;
  • you regain capacity;
  • a court determines that it ceases to have effect; or
  • your Agent dies or quits.

Your Personal Directive can indicate a date or circumstance in which it will be revoked or changed. For example, you can indicate that your sister is your Agent until your child turns 21, at which point  your child will become your Agent.

You should also know that your Agent will only be able to make those personal care decisions that  you cannot make yourself. You might, for example, be incapable of making a serious health care decision but still be able to make your own choices about routine day-to-day matters.

If I change my mind, how can I cancel (“revoke”) my Personal Directive?

As long as you have mental capacity, you may at any time elect to revoke your Personal Directive. To do so, you should state in writing that you are “revoking” it. There is no special form for this statement, which is referred to as a “revocation”, but it must be signed, dated, and witnessed by one person, in the same way as your Personal Directive.

Your family, friends or care /service providers can apply to the court if they believe that your personal decisions are not being made properly by your Agent.

What should I do once I’ve cancelled (“revoked”) my Personal Directive?

Give the statement to your Agent. Give a copy to any of the health care providers or caregivers who are aware of your original Personal Directive. It is also a good idea to get the original Personal Directive back from your Agent and destroy it, if possible. If you registered your previous Personal Directive with the Alberta Personal Directive Registry, be sure to provide the Office of the Public Guardian with the updated information.

Do major life events (like marriage and divorce) automatically invalidate my Personal Directive?

No. When something happens (marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of person named as your Agent), you should review your Personal Directive to make sure that it continues to meet all of your needs, and, if it does not, you should make a new Personal Directive.

What happens if my Personal Directive is deemed invalid and I do not have the mental capacity to make a new one?

In such a case, interested parties (family or a friend) will have to apply to become the “guardian” of your person (this is done through a guardianship application under the Alberta Guardianship and Trusteeship Act).

You should NOT rely on this webpage for legal advice. It provides general information on Alberta law only. November 2015.
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