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Advance Personal Planning

Advance Personal Planning allows you to plan for a future where your health, financial and lifestyle wishes and opinions are heard and respected. 

What is an Advance Personal Plan?

An Advance Personal Plan (APP)  is a document that allows you to make decisions about your future health, financial and lifestyle preferences should you lose
decision-making capacity whether as a result of age, illness, accident or otherwise.

You must have decision-making capacity to make an APP (as when you make a will), and it will only take effect when you lose decision-making capacity.

Your APP ceases to have effect when you revoke it, regain decision-making capacity or pass away. It does not affect or replace your will.

Your APP may contain any or all of the following components, dependant on your personal preferences:

  • Advance consent decisions are legally binding and relate to your future health care. By completing an advance consent decision as part of your APP, you will control how and what treatment you are provided once you have lost decision-making capacity. Medical professionals are legally bound to abide by your decisions.
  • Advance care statements detail your beliefs, views and wishes as to how you want to be treated in relation to any future health, financial or lifestyle matter. Unlike advance consent decisions, they do not provide directives for future treatment; they simply provide guidance as to your personal views relating to lifestyle matters.
  • Appointment of a substitute decision maker/s is probably the most important part of your APP. The person/s you appoint should be someone you trust to act in your best interests; for example, a spouse/partner, parent, adult child, close relative or friend. You can nominate separate decision makers for different purposes; for example, a person for health and lifestyle decisions and a different person or institution to manage your financial affairs.

It is easy to complete an APP. Simply go to the Department of Attorney-General and Justice website and download the Advance Personal Plan (pdf), have a discussion with your loved ones or substitute decision-makers about your preferences and, when necessary, seek medical advice regarding specific treatments.

Once you have completed your plan, you need to have it witnessed by one of the following:

  • Commissioner for Oaths (includes legal practitioners, Justices of the Peace and Police Officers)
  • Doctors, nurses, other health professionals
  • Accountants
  • Chief Executive Officers of Local Government Authorities
  • Social Workers
  • Principals of Northern Territory schools.

Register your plan with the Public Trustee to ensure there is a record on your file should someone require access to it.

If your plan addresses health matters, it is recommended that a note is included on your eHealth record detailing that you have made an APP. 

If you don't have an eHealth record, you can easily register for one through the following options:

  • online at www.ehealth.gov.au
  • by calling 1800 723 471
  • in person at a Medicare Centre
  • through assisted registration by a healthcare provider organisation.

It is recommended that you store your plan somewhere safe, perhaps with your will, and provide a certified copy to your appointed decision maker/s. This will ensure your plan is readily available when required.

If you change your mind about your plan you may add to it, amend it or revoke it whenever you like so long as you have decision-making capacity.