Personal Directives in Nova Scotia

The Department of Justice is collaborating with the Department of Health, the Department of Community Services and Office of the Public Trustee to implement the Personal Directives Act.

This Act enables Nova Scotians to document their wishes regarding what personal care decisions are made for them, and/or who makes them, in the event that they are incapacitated and are unable to make these decisions themselves. Personal care decisions include those related to health care, nutrition, hydration, shelter, residence, clothing, hygiene, safety, comfort, recreation, social activities and support services. The Personal Directives Act enables three things:

  1. It allows individuals to appoint a substitute decision maker to make a personal care decision on their behalf should they become incapable of making the decision.
  2. It allows individuals to set out instructions or general principles about what or how personal care decisions should be made when they are unable to make the decisions themselves.
  3. In the event a Substitute Decision Maker has not been designated, the Act provides for a hierarchy / list of statutory substitute decision makers who can be designated to make decisions regarding health care, placement in a continuing care home, and home care where the individual has not prepared a personal directive in relation to those decisions. The Public Trustee is listed as the last substitute decision maker in the hierarchy.

Planning for the future is important. You should think about who you want to make decisions for you if you are not capable (temporarily or permanently) to make them yourself.

Links to Personal Directives brochures and forms:

Planning for your Future Personal Care Choices – brief introduction and overview pamphlet

Personal Directives in Nova Scotia – general information booklet about the Personal Directives Act.

Making Personal Care Decisions for a Loved One” – information on how to choose a substitute decision maker

Making a Personal Directive – explanatory information and form to be used

Naming a Delegate Only in a Personal Directive – brief information and form to be used


Guide for steps after someone passed awayDeath Certificate & Death Registration in NS

The Vital Statistics Act requires that all deaths which occur in the province of Nova Scotia be registered with the office of Vital Statistics. Funeral Directors are responsible to obtain the personal particulars of the deceased, complete the Death Registration form and submit it along with any necessary medical documentation to Vital Statistics for processing. Any information that is collected on the Death Registration form is collected under the authority of the Vital Statistics Act, and will be used to register the death, update or amend other vital event records, provide extracts or search notices for administrative, statistical, research, medical and law enforcement purposes.

What you have to do after someone has passed away

A guide to the organizations and affairs that should be dealt with following a death. To view and/or download, please click on the title or image.

Nova Scotia Legal Information

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Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia is a charitable not-for-profit organization that has been providing Nova Scotians with information and resources about the law for more than 25 years. Easy access to information about the law is fundamental to a fair justice system.


Nova Scotia Legislation of Interest to Seniors

Senior Citizens’ Financial Aid Act – copy of legislation / statute

Senior Citizens Social Services Act – copy of legislation / statute

Senior Citizens Secretariat Act – copy of legislation / statute

Social Assistance Act – copy of legislation / statute

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