Estate Planning – Advance Directives

Preparing for the future is important, but topics such as your end of life decisions are difficult. Nonetheless, making these choices in advance for yourself is invaluable for your peace of mind and for your family. In an estate planning meeting, you want to ensure you have a health care power of attorney and a living will—documents which are also known as advanced directives. Advanced directives become essential if you are incapacitated and unable to express your wishes.

You may assume your family is on the same page, but often spouses, parents, and children have opposing views depending on experiences and ages. We encourage clients to consider how much you value independence, comfortability, upholding spiritual beliefs, natural processes, mental alertness or competency, organ donation or research contribution. Knowing your values make advance directives easier decisions.

Health Care (Medical) Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney appoints a person you trust to determine health care decisions for you. This person could be deciding whether or not you have elective surgeries, consent to medication or procedures, or enter into hospital / long-term care facilities. Your agent will carry the burden of conveying whether you want life-sustaining treatment consistent with your living will. This person must understand your wishes and be able to uphold them even if mom, dad, sister, or brother may disagree.

Living Will

Your living will indicates instructions concerning artificial nutrition and hydration in the event your condition is terminal and could result in death within a reasonably short time, or in the event you are in a persistent vegetative state or permanent unconsciousness. In your living will, you can elect whether or not to have a feeding tube or hydration provided. Again, the living will is not effective unless you are either incapacitated or deemed incompetent. You may also elect an agent to enforce or revoke this decision on your behalf. However, if you select an agent to serve in this capacity, be sure that they can carry out your desires and that you have discussed your wishes with them. They will have the authority to override your efforts in creating this document.

You may want to ensure you memorialize your desires for withholding cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a do not resuscitate order (DNR), do not intubate order (DNI), etc. Maximum treatment is the default for healthcare providers. Make sure you discuss any of these directives with your attorney.

Contact Hyde Law Firm, P.A. to speak with an experienced attorney regarding these issues, 864-804-6330.