HEALTHCARE ADVANCE DIRECTIVES
Healthcare Advance Directives: Ensuring Your Medical Wishes
Estate planning encompasses more than just the distribution of your property. A comprehensive estate plan should include documents that provide instructions for medical treatments and care in the event you are unable to make those critical decisions due to illness or injury. Advance directives, such as healthcare powers of attorney and living wills, allow you to express and ensure the fulfillment of your medical preferences and wishes.
Understanding Advance Directives
An advance directive, commonly known as a living will, articulates your preferences regarding medical treatments, including any end-of-life wishes and organ donation decisions. The formal term for a living will is an "Advance Directive for a Natural Death," and it is a crucial document that outlines your desired medical treatments, including those that prolong life. Your living will can state a general preference for "all necessary treatments," or it can be tailored to specify individual treatments you do or do not want. For example, you may indicate a desire for artificial hydration but not nutrition. Additionally, it is common for these documents to include provisions specifying that no "extraordinary medical measures" be taken to prolong life, often referred to as a "do not resuscitate order" (DNR). A living will can also address specific situations or conditions that allow for decision-making, such as being in a coma with little chance of regaining consciousness or being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or injury.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
While an advance directive provides instructions for specific situations, there may be instances not covered by your living will. In such cases, it is essential to have a healthcare power of attorney that appoints a representative to make decisions on your behalf. A healthcare power of attorney allows you to designate an agent, also known as a healthcare proxy, who will make decisions regarding your medical care when you are unable to do so. Choosing an agent and granting them the authority to make critical choices is a significant decision. It is crucial to select someone you trust to act in your best interest, as they may be making life-or-death decisions on your behalf.
An advance directive is a legally binding document that healthcare providers must follow. Additionally, any healthcare proxies you appoint cannot override your decisions in your living will unless you explicitly grant them the authority to do so. Therefore, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the decisions you make in your directives, as well as the legal limitations that may apply.
Franklin, NC attorney Russell Bowling can guide you through the intricacies of estate planning and assist you in creating clear instructions for your desired medical treatments.
Trust Your Healthcare Planning to a Knowledgeable Attorney
Rely on a trusted Franklin, NC attorney who takes the time to listen and understand your personal goals and objectives when it comes to estate planning and your legacy. Whether you need assistance in creating a new advanced healthcare directive or require a review of an existing directive, Russell Bowling can help tailor an estate plan that meets your specific needs. Don't postpone this important step; the earlier you discuss your estate plan with a Franklin, NC attorney, the more options you have. For a confidential consultation with Russell R. Bowling, call (828) 524-5070 or complete our form anywhere on this site.
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