Health care directives are legal documents that outline your end-of-life preferences if you are ever unable to communicate your wishes. Creating your own health care directives beforehand will alleviate the stress and emotional pain that your loved ones would feel if they had to guess what you would prefer.
The attorneys at Walker, Hulbert, Gray & Moore law firm have extensive knowledge and experience creating health care directives. Allow us to help you create advanced directives that will establish peace in your future. Call 478-987-1415 to start the discussion.
3 Misconceptions About Advanced Health Care Directives
“Health care directives are only for the elderly.”
Truth: Every person who is over 18 years old should seriously consider creating health care directives.
“I have no say concerning my health care once I appoint a health care power of attorney.”
Truth: As long as you are conscious and able to communicate your wishes, you are in control of your health care. The proxy’s decisions are only honored if you are unable to communicate.
“Advanced health care directives are set in stone. They cannot be changed once signed.”
Truth: Health care directives can be changed if your wishes change.
Types of Health Care Directives
There are two advanced care directives that are extremely common today—a living will and the health care power of attorney.
The purpose of a living will is to document your wishes if you ever aren’t able to make decisions on your own due to an illness or prolonged unconsciousness. A living will would supply necessary information to your loved ones and doctor concerning your wishes.
Every living will must be written and signed by the person it concerns. Our attorneys will guide you through the process. Because it is considered a legal document, many states include laws that the living will be notarized and witnessed to make it legal. Our office will make the process simple for you.
There are numerous health care topics to consider while writing your living will. Here are five examples of important issues to include in your living will:
- Whether you want to donate your organs
- The use of breathing machines or kidney machines
- “Do not resuscitate” orders if your heartbeat stops
- Whether you want the use of an IV or feeding tube to provide nutrients
- Whether you want to stay at home or be hospitalized
It is important to note that a living will is only used when the patient is in a permanent vegetative state or has a terminal illness. If you feel more comfortable knowing your care is not limited to what you have written but is being decided by a loved one, a health care power of attorney may be a better choice for you.
Health Care Power of Attorney
The health care power of attorney allows for you to designate a specific person—called a proxy—to make all needed health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so. This person should know you well and understand your wishes concerning your health care. The same health care topics listed above should be discussed in detail with your chosen attorney so there is no question that remains unanswered. It is not uncommon to have a back-up proxy in case your initial power of attorney becomes unavailable.
Many states require a signed document stating the name of your power of attorney. By doing so, you are eliminating confusion and stress when decisions need to be made.
We understand that creating health care directives can be difficult and we strive to make the entire process as smooth and clear as possible. Call us at 478-987-1415 to set up an appointment.