Estate Planning Law
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What is a Medical Treatment Decision Maker?

The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic) governs the appointment of a person who is able to make medical decisions on your behalf, in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself.

This situation could arise as a result of a serious crisis such as a car accident or a debilitating medical condition.

In such cases the medical profession is required to approach your Appointed Medical Treatment Decision Maker (MTDM) to make any medical decisions on your behalf. For example consent to emergency surgery may be needed or a decision may need to be made not to continue with medical treatment. In any event, appointing a Medical Treatment Decision Maker is extremely important.

The Medical Profession is also required to follow any Advance Care Directive you have made, but if none is in existence it is your MTDM who will make the decision if you are unable to do so.

But what happens if you have not appointed anyone in the role of MTDM?

Section 55 of the Act sets out the following list of people who are able to make a medical decision in the absence of a MTDM:

1. A spouse or domestic partner; or

2. A primary carer (if applicable); or

3. The first of the following people and, if more than one person fits the description, the oldest of those persons –

        a. An adult child; or

        b. A parent; or

        c. An adult sibling.

However, reliance on this section could lead to family disputes and disagreements and could result in the loss of valuable time for your treatment in crisis situations.

The best way to ensure that decisions about your medical care are within your control (as much as is possible when you are incapacitated) is to make a MTDM which appoints someone you trust and someone who you believe will make decisions which are in line with your wishes and your values.

The appointment needs to be made at a time when you have legal capacity.

If you require us to prepare a MTDM for you or you wish to discuss any aspect of this article, please telephone our Estate Planning Team on 9870 9870.

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