A competent adult may make an advance care directive [Advance Care Directives Act 2013 (SA) s 11].
An adult person wanting to make an advance care directive needs to complete a specific form while she or he has legal capacity, that is, while she or he is ‘competent’. To be ‘competent’ to make an advance care directive, a person must understand what an advance care directive is and the consequences of giving an advance care directive [s 11(1)].
Sometimes it is difficult to assess whether or not someone is competent. Someone who is not competent would be unable to understand the nature of the document and its effect, or be unable to communicate in any way.
Being physically incapacitated, for example being paralysed and unable to sign documents, does not mean that a person is necessarily not competent. The person may still be able to understand the document and its implications. If the person is able to communicate this in some way, then they can be considered competent.
This can be a complex area of law. If there is a question about a person's competence it is best to obtain a written medical opinion, preferably from the person's own doctor.
An advance care directive must be made using a specific form [s 11(2)(a)].
A DIY Kit containing the form and instructions on how to complete it is also available.
A witness to an advance care directive will need an Advance Care Directive Information Sheet to give to the person completing the directive. The information sheet is in the kit.
The form can be filled in and created online at www.advancecaredirectives.sa.gov.au. Alternatively, the blank form and the kit can both be downloaded and printed free of charge from www.advancecaredirectives.sa.gov.au.
If you do not wish to print your own form, hard copies of the form and kit can be purchased at a cost of $5 from Service SA.
The form can be purchased at a cost of $1 from Service SA.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.