There are two types of Personal Directives. One is an “immediate” Personal Directive and the other is a “springing” Personal Directive. The “immediate” Personal Directive is just that; it comes into force and effect upon the signing of it. The “springing” Personal Directive does not take force and effect until such time as a written declaration is provided by two medical practitioners verifying that you do not have the mental capacity to make reasonable judgments about your personal care and medical care, or upon your “agent” – the individual you have appointed in your Personal Directive – has consulted with your medical practitioner and consequently signs a written declaration stating that you are no longer mentally capable of making personal and/or health decisions. One other important aspect to the Personal Directive is a declaration as to who shall be appointed guardian of your minor children in the event the Personal Directive comes into force and effect.
As with a Will, and like the Enduring Power of Attorney, the Personal Directive must be properly drafted and properly executed. Rules also apply to the Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive with respect to who can witness. Failure to execute any of these documents in the proper and accepted form can and often does result in them being declared null and void. The result is an application to the Court which as we have noted is costly, time consuming and not always in your best interests nor according to your wishes.