NT

Forms and requirements for writing Advance Care Directives and appointing substitute decision-makers vary between and states and territories.

The following outlines the legal requirements, forms and fact sheets in the Northern Territory (NT):


Frequently asked questions

Advance care planning and the law

If you are unable to make decisions about your own health care, substitute decision-makers can make decisions on your behalf.

Your substitute decision-maker may be:

  • nominated by you (a decision-maker)
  • appointed by a tribunal (a guardian), or
  • appointed by default under legislation (an available consenter).

Decision-maker

You can appoint one or more adults as your decision-maker, using your Advance Personal Plan form.

You will need to identify the matter or matters for which the decision-maker is appointed (eg. healthcare, management of assets).

If appointed, the decision-maker can make decisions relating to refusal/withdrawal of treatment and give consent for procedures.

They cannot give consent for a ‘restricted health care action’ (e.g. abortion, sterilisation, removal of non-regenerative tissue).

Guardian

A guardian is a person appointed by the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

A guardian can make the same decisions on behalf of a person that the person would be able to make if they had the capacity to do so.

Available Consenter

A default substitute decision-maker is not listed in the NT law. If there is no available consenter (decision maker or guardian), the health care provider or another interested person may apply to the Tribunal for them to make a decision.

Advance Personal Plan

An Advance Personal Plan can include formal documentation known as Advance Consent Decisions which are recognised by law.

It comes into effect if a person loses capacity (cannot make or communicate their decisions).

Your Advance Personal Plan allows you to refuse or withdraw medical treatment and consent to commencement of treatments. 

You can use the recommended form or similar when completing your plan. The form must comply with NT regulations. The Advance Personal Plan must be signed by an authorised witness.

We recommend that you regularly review your Advance Personal Plan. Usually, health professionals are obliged to comply with the preferences stated in your Advance Personal Plan, so ensure it is kept up to date.

If you want to change your Advance Personal Plan, make a new one (this does not automatically revoke the existing plan).

We encourage you to upload your Advance Personal Plan to My Health Record and give a copy to your substitute decision-maker, GP and/or hospital. You may also register your plan with the Office of the Public Trustee.

If a person amends an Advance Personal Plan this does not automatically revoke the existing plan. If a person has made two or more advance personal plans that are inconsistent, the most recently made plan prevails to the extent of the inconsistency. A person may revoke an advance personal plan, but the legislation is silent as to how.
A health care professional is obliged to comply with advance consent decisions in an advance personal plan, unless the Court orders that it be disregarded.
An Advance Personal Plan can include preferences relating to mental health treatment.

An Advance Personal Plan made in NT will apply in:

  • South Australia (if it complies with South Australian law).
  • Queensland (if it meets the Queensland Advance Health Directive requirements).
  • Western Australia (if an order is made by the State Administrative Tribunal to recognise the plan).
  • Victoria (from 12 March 2018) (if it complies with Northern Territory and Victorian law it will be recognised as a values directive).

Please contact the Office of the Public Advocate for more information if you wish.


Forms

Advance care planning forms

  • Form

    Advance Personal Plan (NT)

    Northern Territory Government

    In the Northern Territory, a person 18 years or over must complete the Advance Personal Plan form to make a legally-binding advance care plan. It can include decisions about future healthcare, statements about their views, wishes and beliefs, and appoint one or more persons as a substitute decision-maker.
  • Form

    Application to Register an Advance Personal Plan (NT)

    Northern Territory Government

    View the form to register an advance care plan with the Public Trustee of the Northern Territory.
  • Form

    Application to Search or Obtain Information from the Advance Personal Plan Register (NT)

    Northern Territory Government

    Use this form as a spouse, de facto partner, child, or medical practitioner of a person who has made an Advance Personal Plan in the Northern Territory to apply to be provided with information concerning their advanced care plan.

Fact sheets

Advance care planning fact sheets

  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning and the law: NT

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    This fact sheet is for individuals, providing an overview about advance care planning and Northern Territory (NT) law.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning fact sheet for individuals and family

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    Information about advance care planning for individuals and their families.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning fact sheet for substitute decision-makers

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    Information about advance care planning for substitute decision-makers.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning and legal requirements: NT

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    This fact sheet for health professionals gives specific information about advance care planning and Northern Territory (NT) law.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning fact sheet for care workers

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    Information about advance care planning for care workers.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning fact sheet for healthcare professionals

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    Information about advance care planning for healthcare professionals.