Do You Need a Personal Directive?

Do You Need  a Personal Directive?

We know that we like to watch what we like to watch.

We know that an afternoon walk can sometimes really help our day.

We know that we hate boiled greens but roasted is just fine.

We control our quality of life, our activities, our day.

When you are sick, this isn’t always the case. If we are sick for a long time, we may experience less and less control around our lives. This is why having something like a personal care directive is important.

When I practiced law, I saw too often the difficult and emotional circumstances that can arise when the proper paperwork is not followed and completed. This short blog post can help prevent that  for you, your family and friends.

What is a Personal Directive?

A Personal Directive is a document that sets out your future personal care decisions for when you are not mentally healthy enough to do so on your own. It is only effective when you are alive and while you are unable to speak on your own behalf.  A Personal Directive will cover health care treatment, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene, recreation, comfort, and similar supports. It allows you to set out what you want and need for your future. You control your future today but only if you do it TODAY.

Please note that a Personal Directive does not cover financial decisions. Those are covered by an Enduring Power of Attorney (next blog post ).

Should you have a Personal Directive?

Everyone should have a Personal Directive.

We can lose our mental capability at any time, whether temporarily or permanently from illness or accident. A Personal Directive gives you the sole voice in determining your health care and treatment if that should occur. Take the time to ensure you control your future. Another reason to have a Personal Directive is that it helps your family and friends. It provides them at a difficult time for all with your personal instructions. No one will wonder what action to take. Your Personal Directive will remove that burden from them. All is clearly stated in the Personal Directive.

What completing a Personal Directive means to you

It gives you piece of mind. You will know that your future care and treatment will be carried out according to your wishes. That is a huge comfort to you.  Your loved ones will also appreciate that you have a Personal Directive.

How to obtain a Personal Directive?

Most provinces, states, and jurisdictions now have laws and regulations that state the requirements for a Personal Directive to ensure it is legally and properly completed. In Nova Scotia, my province, there is a Personal Directives Act. The government here provides 10 pages of suggestions and instructions together with a draft Personal Directive which are quite helpful. These may also be provided where you live.  

Get your own Personal Directive and off you go to a more certain future.

For more information or for help to complete your own Personal Directive, please feel free to email me at

  • Keith Anderson, LL.B., LL.M.

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