An equally important estate planning strategy is to plan ahead so that your non-financial personal decisions can be made if you become unable to make those decisions yourself. A Personal Directive is a legal document that allows one or more people you trust to manage your personal needs and health care decisions if you become mentally unable to make those important decisions yourself. The person(s) you choose to make those decisions are called your Agent. It's a good idea to also name an alternate agent so that you’re covered if your Agent is unable or unwilling to handle those responsibilities.
A personal directive is optional and voluntary and only comes into effect if you’re found to lack capacity. You can give instructions in your Personal Directive about some or all personal non-financial matters, such as:
A Personal Directive cannot be used to request illegal actions such as euthanasia or assisted suicide.
Your Personal Directive is a legal document as soon as you and your witness sign it. It’s a good idea to keep your Personal Directive (and your other estate planning documents) in a safe place and to make copies of your Personal Directive to give to your agent(s), your doctor, and any other key people who should be informed.
You can register your Personal Directive with the Government of Alberta, which enables approved healthcare professionals to find out if you have a Personal Directive, and how to contact your agent(s). The registry doesn’t keep a copy of your Personal Directive; it only lists contact information for you and your agent(s). You can register your Personal Directive online, by mail or fax, and registering it is free and optional.