An advance healthcare directive, also known as a living will, is a document in which a person expresses, in advance, the type of health care that they do or do not wish to receive, should they not be able to express their wishes at any stage.
You can use the living will to deal with the following:
- To appoint a health care attorney to make these decisions for you;
- To indicate the health care you would like to receive; OR
- To appoint a health care attorney and also indicate the health care you would like to receive.
A living will can be made by both Portuguese nationals and foreigners, resident in Portugal, as long as they are of age, and mentally capable of understanding what they are signing. You must have a National Health Service user number (Utente no.) in order to execute the living will, as it is then registered with the health authorities.
The document is a form that is filled out and can be signed at a Notary, who will then certify your signature. The form is then sent to the Health Services to be registered.
The living will is valid for a period of 5 years and is available to be consulted by medical practitioners. A few months before it expires, you will be notified (via email and/or SMS) informing of the approaching deadline. If you wish to maintain the same living will (or create a different one), you must repeat the process.
The living will is a valuable addition to your general estate planning, and ensures that your choice of medical treatment is respected, when you are no longer able to voice that choice.
For advice on this, or any other legal matter, please contact TPA Law: