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What is a Personal Directive?

Personal Direct protects you if you become mentally incapacitated.

No one likes the think about the possibility of becoming critically injured or ill. It’s important to know that, with some pre-planning, you have the ability to decide what happens to you should you become mentally incapacitated.

This power to decide is made possible through a legal document known as a Personal Directive. Your Personal Directive gives you the ability to name a person you trust to have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. You can also include specific instructions to be followed, such as the refusal of blood products, or where you are to live.

Personal Directives are not always for long-term situations. A serious illness or injury could leave you with temporary inability to make decisions for yourself. In other instances, a Personal Directive would need to be in place for the remainder of your life, such as in a traumatic brain injury or a progressive condition like Alzheimer’s.

If you want to include a Personal Directive as part of your Estate Plan, you can start the planning before seeking legal advice. Some things to consider for your Directive include:

  • The name of the person(s) you choose to make those decisions on your behalf (your agent).

  • Any areas of decision-making authority your agent will have. Such as:

  • Health Care.

  • Accommodation.

  • Whom you’ll live with

  • Participation in social, educational or employment activities

  • Non-financial legal matters

  • Any other personal matters you want included. i.e. Cultural, religious, etc.

  • Any specific instructions you may have about:

  • How the agent makes decisions (i.e.: they consult other family members)

  • Who should determine your mental capacity?

  • Who should be informed when the directive takes effect?

  • Restriction of access to personal information from family or others.

  • Whether you want your agent to be paid for carrying out their duties.

This article serves as a brief summary regarding Personal Directives and is not intended to replace professional legal advice. For further information click here:, or contact our office to speak with a lawyer: Phone: 587-356-0356 Email:

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