Living Wills In Hong Kong: Empowering Individuals Through Enduring Power Of Attorney And Advance Directives

Published date01 April 2024
Subject MatterFood, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Family and Matrimonial, Wills/ Intestacy/ Estate Planning
Law FirmWithers LLP
AuthorMs Anisha Ramanathan

In the realm of estate planning, many think it only relates to the handling of the estate after death; however, with age, there is a chance we may not have the full mental capacity to make decisions about our healthcare and finances which is why we must turn to living wills like Advance Directives (ADs) that play a crucial role in ensuring that a donor's wishes are respected, even when they are unable to communicate their choices. Alternatively, one may deter from living wills and consider Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) to ultimately achieve a similar goal.

In Hong Kong, the use of EPAs and ADs are some of the key estate planning tools to ultimately provide donors with the means to pass control to others to handle their financial matters and reflect the donor's healthcare preferences and maintain control over their medical treatment, respectively. By carefully considering the use of these forms of estate planning, you and your families will have very little to worry about in the event you become incapacitated.

Enduring Power of Attorney

Before reaching a stage of mental incapacity, a donor may appoint an EPA as a means to handle their finances if and when they are deemed mentally unfit. This ensures your financial decisions are taken care of in accordance with the law and is being executed by a trusted attorney.

The Enduring Powers of Attorney Ordinance (Cap 501) prescribes the responsibilities, obligations, and duties an EPA must fulfil when appointed. Ultimately, the attorney has the responsibility to act in the best interests of the donor, adhering to the instructions and preferences outlined in the EPA. This legal arrangement provides a trusted representative who can make decisions regarding medical treatment, living arrangements, and other important matters.

Understanding Living Wills (ADs)

A living will, also known as ADs, is a legal document which outlines the donor's healthcare and medical treatment preferences, typically to instruct medical practitioners what treatment they should use on the donor in the event of a medical emergency. In Hong Kong, ADs can be used to express preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments, resuscitation, organ donation, and other medical interventions. These directives serve as guidance for healthcare professionals, ensuring that treatment aligns with the individual's wishes, even if they are incapacitated.

However, the governance of ADs in Hong Kong is seen as a grey area as there is no legislation prescribing...

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