What Is an Advanced Healthcare Directive?
Intense medical dramas can be found on every major television network and streaming service. These shows are so popular precisely because drama is naturally created in hospital settings. When patients are affected by injuries following accidents or are unaware of some major medical condition(s), drama is inevitable. While watching one of these programs, have you ever stopped to think about how your life, your loved ones and your wellbeing would be affected, should you suddenly become impacted by an accident-related injury or unknown medical condition? If you haven’t, it is time that you did. If you have elderly loved ones, it is also time to consider what would happen should anything ever happen to them as well.
Dramas may be entertaining to watch, but they are not entertaining to live through. It is important to think carefully about your wishes and to work with an attorney in order to make sure that those wishes are legally enforceable. In doing so, you will minimize the amount of unwanted drama that would otherwise accompany an unexpected (and major) medical event.
Advanced Healthcare Directives: The Basics
An experienced attorney can help you to draft an enforceable advance healthcare directive as part of your most critically important, foundational estate planning documents. This estate planning tool will allow you to make your medically-related wishes known. That way, if you or your elderly loved ones are temporarily or permanently incapacitated and unable to articulate your wishes, your medical care providers and loved ones will have clear instructions to follow in regards to your care. This documentation is commonly referred to as a living will. Unlike an ordinary will, an advanced healthcare directive is not concerned with the transfer of property and unlike an ordinary will, this tool is meant to help you enforce your wishes while you are still alive.
Each state has their own guidelines related to advance healthcare directives, so it is important to speak with an attorney before writing down your wishes. You should also think about consulting an attorney about updating your advance healthcare directive if you plan to travel to another state for any significant length of time, as documentation that is valid in one state is not always valid in others. These guidelines hold true for elderly loved ones and loved ones dealing with serious health conditions, as they are statistically more likely to need these documents within the relatively foreseeable future.
Estate Planning Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about advance healthcare directives specifically and/or estate planning generally, please do not hesitate to connect with an experienced estate planning attorney today. The process of estate planning can be daunting, but it is important for every single legally independent adult in America to have certain critical documentation in place in case an accident or unexpected medical condition arises.
Although an experienced estate planning attorney can help you to explore a myriad of estate planning tools that may be relevant to your situation, at minimum you will need to explore securing an advance healthcare directive, a power of attorney designation and a simple will. These documents are critically important right now, as none of us knows when our estate plans (and/or the estate plans of our elderly family members) will become urgent business for our loved ones. Please don’t hesitate. Connect with an experienced elder law lawyer, like those at McCarthy Law, LLC today.