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Personal Care Directives in Nova Scotia

Kimball Law By: Kimball Law July 15, 2023 no comments

Personal Care Directives in Nova Scotia

When planning for your future, there are many documents a lawyer can help you prepare. One of the most important of these is a Personal Care Directive. A personal care directive in Nova Scotia is the document that provides instructions about your medical treatment and personal care, and also tells service providers, including medical professionals, who to turn to for instructions on your care and treatment if you are unable to provide those instructions yourself.

Unfortunately, many Nova Scotians put off preparing Personal Care Directives until they are no longer able to do so. At Kimball Law, we have several lawyers who can assist you in drafting a Personal Care Directive that ensures that your wishes are known and respected by your loved ones and your service providers.

What is a Personal Care Directive in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia Personal Care Directives are documents that appoint another person, or “delegate” to make important decisions about your personal care in the event that you are unable to make decisions yourself, due to a lack of capacity. In Nova Scotia, the legislation that governs Personal Care Directives is the Personal Directives Act.

A lack of capacity may arise as a result of a medical condition, such as Alzheimer’s, or through more sudden means – for example, if you are unconscious following a motor vehicle accident. The loss of capacity may be permanent or temporary (in which case your delegate is only authorized to act during the period of incapacity). Keep in mind that this condition must be established by a doctor.

When appointing a personal care delegate, there are a few things to think about. Your personal care delegate must be over the age of majority, and, in most cases, cannot be anyone who provides personal care services to you for compensation. They do not need to live in Nova Scotia, so long as they can be contacted in the event of your incapacity.

Your delegate should be someone you trust implicitly, as they will have the authority to make decisions about all elements of your personal care, unless you have provided your own explicit instructions within the text of the Personal Care Directive. Areas of decision making may include, but are not limited to:

  • Health care and treatment
  • Hygiene
  • Residence
  • Recreation
  • Support services

Many people choose to appoint a spouse or adult child as a personal care delegate. However, you can appoint anyone you like, so long as they meet the above criteria. In all cases, we recommend discussing this decision with your chosen delegate, prior to appointing them, to make sure they are up to the task.

A Personal Care Directive in Nova Scotia must be signed and witnessed, and the person making the Directive must have decision making capacity at the time of signing. This is why it is important to make a Personal Care Directive as part of your planning for the future, rather than putting it off until it may be too late.

In many cases, Nova Scotians choose to have a Personal Care Directive done as part of their estate planning, at the same time as they prepare their Wills and Powers of Attorney. Seeking a Halifax wills lawyer to assist you in preparing this document will ensure that it is done correctly, in accordance with the laws of Nova Scotia.

Difference Between Power of Attorney and Personal Care Directive

The term “Personal Care Directive” is sometimes used interchangeably with “Living Will”, though this term is not used in Nova Scotia legislation.

A Nova Scotia Personal Care Directive is not the same thing as a Power of Attorney. Your Personal Care Directive concerns only matters of personal care, not financial matters. By contrast, a Power of Attorney in Nova Scotia appoints another person to manage your financial and property affairs. Both documents are important estate planning tools. You may choose to appoint the same person to manage your affairs under both documents, but this is not required, and in some cases, may not be advisable.

Speak to One of Our Halifax Estate Planning Lawyers

Personal Care Directive Nova Scotia documents are key estate planning tools. Do not wait until it is too late. The Halifax lawyers from Kimball Law can provide you with legal assistance. Call 1 (902) 422-8811 today to schedule a consultation and let us help you create a comprehensive personal care directive tailored to your needs.

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