Along with the Last Will and Testament and Power of Attorney, an Advanced Healthcare Directives is one of the core estate planning documents everyone should have. Depending on your circumstances, a Healthcare Directive can serve a number of purposes, but most typically coming into use when you’re incapacitated and cannot make health care decisions for yourself.
Health Care Representatives
A solid Healthcare Directive gives you the ability to choose a representative who can speak for you if you can’t. Choosing a health care representative (or representatives) is an important task. You need to choose someone you trust to make hard decisions regarding your medical care, oftentimes dealing with end of life and palliative care, and you need to make sure they’re fully aware of what their responsibility entails. Speak with your potential healthcare representatives to make sure they’re up to the task, and explain to them why you want to choose them to make those medical decisions for you. An Encino estate planning and elder law attorney can advise you on the best way to broach the subject, and also provide a clear explanation of a healthcare representative’s responsibilities.
The Advanced Health Directive also incorporates, a living will component which provides instructions regarding your medical treatment, both for your healthcare representative and medical professionals. Typically, these instructions pertain to end of life care, or any type of medical care that occurs if you’re incapacitated. These include the placement of feeding tubes and ventilators, or any other means of artificially extending life. While a Living Will is not interchangeable with a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form, the two can be used in conjunction with each other in matters concerning end of life care. Except in certain extenuating circumstances, your health care representatives and medical professionals are bound by law to follow the wishes you set forth in your Living Will. You should speak with an Encino elder law attorney about your health care wishes and what types of end of life care you wish to receive, and make sure those wishes are plainly noted in your Living Will.
If you would like to learn more about Healthcare Directives, or if you’d like to discuss your estate plan, please set up an appointment at our Encino elder law office by calling (818) 905-6088.