Making decisions about your healthcare wishes if you are seriously injured or ill and end-of-life care is difficult for everyone. Whether you are young or old, serious illness or injury can strike at any time. It is not something that anyone looks forward to doing, but making decisions about your healthcare if you are incapacitated and end-of-life wishes is an essential part of any comprehensive Estate Plan. Talking through your Advanced Healthcare Directive options with an Estate Planning Attorney can help to determine what steps you can take to plan for these possibilities, communicate your wishes and protect your family and loved ones.
What Is An Advanced Healthcare Directive?
An Advanced Healthcare Directive is a legal document that expresses an adult’s healthcare wishes when they are no longer able to make healthcare decisions for themself. Advance Directives help to ensure that you receive the medical care you desire and that decisions are made by those you trust.
There are two types of documents that are used to communicate your healthcare wishes in situations where you are not able to make decisions for yourself.
The first type of document is a Living Will. A Living Will expresses your thoughts and wishes regarding medical care in the case you are not able to express them for yourself. Your feelings about life-prolonging or life curtailing measures can be expressed in this type of document.
Your choices for palliative care (i.e. hospice) is something that you can discuss in your Living Will, as well as issues concerning your religious views on medical care can also be expressed in this type of document.
The concept is that you will have thought through the different situations and expressed your own opinion, in advance, as to how you think any given medical situation should be dealt with.
In addition to helping secure the type of care you desire, an important advantage of having a Living Will is that it takes the pressure off loved ones who are charged with making life-ending decisions on your behalf. Instead of making decisions, they are merely executing your wishes.
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (DPOA) or medical health care proxy can be used independently or in conjunction with a Living Will. A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare allows you to name someone you trust to make decisions for you related to your finances, your business and your legal issues.
A Living Will speaks for you, at least to the extent that the document covers the situation you are in. A DPOA for health care is a bit different. In this document, you appoint one or more people who have the ability to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are no longer able to make your own healthcare decisions. The people you appoint in your DPOA use the medical information given to them by your doctors and make your healthcare decisions based on what they believe you would want to be done.
The advantage of a Durable Power of Attorney is that the document identifies the people you feel are most capable to make decisions on your behalf. The theory is that you have had some discussion with your chosen healthcare representative about your wishes so they can take in medical information and harmonize it with your wishes. In practice, many people do not enter easily into these types of discussions. In such cases, also creating a Living will to aid your healthcare representative is a great idea.
Consulting with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney can help determine the best approach to documenting your wishes if you are incapacitated and end-of-life healthcare decisions.
Trusted and Compassionate Estate Planning
Provide your family with peace of mind and protection by executing an Estate Plan that communicates your healthcare decisions in the event you are seriously injured or ill and your end-of-life wishes. With over 20 years of estate planning experience, South Florida Attorney Barry D. Siegel at The Siegel Law Group, P.A. knows firsthand what can happen if you are unprepared for life’s greatest challenges. A knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer can help ensure that you make well-informed decisions about your healthcare wishes.
Call us toll-free at 855-FLA-ESTATE or at 561-955-8515 or schedule a free consultation.