Advance directive Do I need an advance directive?

The loss of one’s powers of judgment can occur gradually or happen suddenly. So you should set up an advance directive in good time.

byUBS Insights 05 Jul 2017

Do I need an advance directive? Imagine what could happen if you suddenly lost your powers of judgment, you could no longer create or exercise any rights and no longer enter into obligations, even if these are for apparently simple everyday business.

Limited right of representation by your spouse or partner

The law does provide for a right of representation for spouses and registered partners who live in the same household. However, this only includes actions that are “normally necessary to meet maintenance needs.”

The cooperation of the Child and Adult Protection Agency (Kesb) is required to sell or mortgage your home, or for more complex financial transactions. The Kesb also validates any advance directive. Common-law partners, for example, have absolutely no legal right of representation.

Appoint a representative

With an advance directive, you can assign a representative (or institution) to take over if you become medically and officially certified as unable to make judgments, and manage your

  • Personal matters
  • Financial matters
  • Associated legal representation

You should assign a substitute representative in case the person you designate cannot or does not want to assume this responsibility.

Formulate the agreement clearly

Your advance directive should be as open as possible and yet contain comprehensive wording for the various areas of responsibility for your representative, so that there is as little room for interpretation as possible, and you can use your right of self-determination to best effect. You must either personally set down the advance directive in your own handwriting, or have it officially certified. If you draw up an advance directive, you are taking important decisions for the future and making it easier for those around you to deal with a situation that is in any case very challenging.