This article reviews the literature on advance statements, including current mental health law and guidance in England and Wales, ethical and practical advantages, disadvantages and barriers to implementation. The idea of planning psychiatric treatment for a time when mental capacity may be impaired is not new. Yet there has been a renewed interest following the introduction of the Mental Capacity Act's 2005 provision of legally binding advance decisions to refuse treatment. In addition to information on treatment refusals, advance statements provide information on treatment preferences and personal care instructions which, although not legally binding, should inform treatment decisions. Advance statements are not yet widely used, but existing limited evidence suggests that they could reduce coercion and improve service users' satisfaction with treatment.