An Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) is a very important, binding legal document that provides directions to health care professionals and others in circumstances of a health issue. If you are in a coma do you want to be put on life support? The answer may be different if you are age 20 compared to age 90. You can also appoint a person as a substitute medical decision maker in the event of your incapacity to make decisions for yourself. The medical decision maker needs clear guidelines on what to do as well as what not to do.
Each Australian State has its own provisions in relation to the creation of an AHCD and when it applies. The current one is for Victoria only. It also provides the maker with the ability to complete a medical decision maker form.
- Provides a structure for a person not able to manage their health affairs
- Enables a person to act as a medical decision maker where the maker of the AHCD is unable to make health decisions on their own
- Provides binding guidelines for medical and other professionals on what to do in various health care situations
- Sits alongside a medical decision maker but is also effective without one
- Provides cascading substitute medical decision makers where one resigns, retires, dies or becomes incapacitated.
- Will need to discuss with a medical professional and also a lawyer if needed.
Frequently Asked Legal Questions
Is this document a legal document?
All master documents have been signed off by Abbott & Mourly lawyers. Tony Anamourlis of Abbott & Mourly advises that “at no time, due to inbuilt legal protection and security measures can a user change or amend a document on the LightYear Docs platform that has been signed off by a practicing solicitor. To do so would result in the user drafting a document of a legal nature and engaging in the provision of legal services. In addition, it would be a breach of copyright. In our opinion when completing the form fields through the LightYear Docs platform, users and their employees are merely carrying out an administrative task which is not the provision of legal advice.”
However in some complex areas such as the insertion of a varied range of client instructions into a Will or other such documents the user must be mindful of the extent to which a document is being drafted by the user rather than merely the administrative task of completing a form where the relevant fields are inserted into the reviewed and signed legal document provided by Abbott & Mourly.
The above advice is born out of numerous cases dating back to Re Sanderson, Ex parte Law Institute of Victoria  VLR 394, 397 where the Court held:
“if a person does a thing usually done by a solicitor, and does it in such a way as to lead to the reasonable inference that he is a solicitor – if he combines professing to be a solicitor with action usually taken by a solicitor – I think he then does act as a solicitor.”
Likewise in ACCC v Murray (2002) 121 FCR 428, 448 where Murray was building a franchise business that involved the legal writing and drafting of Wills from scratch based on the client’s personal circumstances. The Court held that this process was legal work.
Is the document easy to read?
All LightYear Docs products are written in plain English and assessed for readability. If at any time you come across any errors, please contact email@example.com.
What happens to any existing AHCD?
The new AHCD will take precedence over an existing AHCD and at any time an AHCD can be cancelled. The pack includes a cancellation form.
What lawyers sign off on the AHCD?
LightYear documents are prepared and signed off by Abbott & Mourly from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Is there any training on the LightYear Docs AHCD?
We have specialist AHCD training on www.lightyeardocs.com.au in the Support Centre. There are also extensive notes included with the AHCD as well as frequently asked questions.
Do you have details on the LightYear Docs AHCD that I can give my clients?
You may want to provide a sample to your client as there is ample information in the document.
What happens if a substitute decision-maker dies or becomes incapacitated?
It is crucial in the planning process to determine who is to be a substitute decision-maker and then the next substitute decision-maker in case something happens to the first one.
What happens if the AHCD Maker moves interstate?
It is best to complete an AHCD from the state the person currently resides in.
Is the LightYear Docs AHCD reviewed regularly?
All LightYear Docs documents form part of the LightYear Docs internal document review cycle. All documents are scheduled to be reviewed at least annually or when required to do so, due to changes in legislation. The LightYear Docs review cycle ensures all of our documents remain current and accurate.
Can this document be digitally signed?
NOT RECOMMENDED. This document, or pack of documents, includes the establishment of a deed and/or a signature that requires witnessing. Abbott & Mourly have advised that a digital signature on any part of the assembled document is NOT legally binding. This is in accordance with all current legislation. LightYear Docs will regularly review this position as part of its internal review process. You can read more about digital signatures on the strategy centre by searching "digital signatures".
What happens after I purchase this document?
After you purchase this document, you will experience first-hand the power of our assembly engine, HotDocs. An interview session will appear in what is called the HotDocs iFrame. Through the use of the iFrame technology, we are able to create document templates in minutes, versus months of coding through other methods. The iFrame also allows for rapid integrations and documentation to be assembled instantly in "lines" or packs of documents.
Can I edit my document after it has been completed?
Your document will be available to edit from the LightYear Vault for 90 DAYS after you have completed the interview process, at which point it will be locked for future edits. Your completed documents will be listed under "My Vault" from the drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner after you login. This is also where you re-launch an "interview" to make edits within the first 90 DAYS.
Can I save a document to complete later?
Yes, provided you select save, you can exit the interview process at any time. All documents that have been purchased and not yet assembled will be saved under "My In Progress Docs" and are accessible from the drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner after you login. This is also where you re-launch an "interview" to continue the interview process and assemble your document.