Downs Law Firm, P.C.

Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney

Advanced Directives Help Loved Ones Making Tough Choices

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An advanced directive can give you as well as your loved ones peace of mind.

Do you want your preferences known, even if you are lack the capacity to communicate them? Then you need to create an advanced directive, according to the Valley News in “Advance Directives Provide Clear Guidance for Care.”

The two components that make up an advance directive are a durable power of attorney and a treatment preferences section.

The durable power of attorney for health care allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions, if you lack the capacity to make those decisions for yourself.

The treatment preference, which is sometimes referred to as a living will, lets you specify what kind of treatment you would want in a difficult circumstance. Treatment and care preferences usually focus on what you would want at the end of life or if you were in a permanently unconscious state. There are other preferences that can be expressed, including pain control, blood transfusions, mental health care and spiritual care. Another preference: who should—and should not—be involved in discussions about treatment.

Most people want to express their wishes to avoid aggressive measures being taken to extend their lives, when the end result will be suffering and a delay of their passing. Others chose to avoid the financial burdens that may or may not result in any kind of change in their health or the quality of their life.

Some have these documents prepared to make it clear that they want to spend their final months, weeks or days at home with loved ones with care only to relieve pain or care, so they can be conscious and able to speak with those around them.

Advance directives are a blessing to loved ones, since they do not have to make hard choices in a crisis situation. They know what their aging parent or spouses wishes.

It’s important to choose the person you want to be responsible for your care well in advance. Make sure it’s someone you trust, who knows you well and will be able to make hard decisions in a highly emotional time. They’ll also have to be able to communicate with your doctors and family members.

It’s also important that you deliver the documents to your decision makers in a way they can be easily retrieved. We will scan and email the documents to our clients and suggest they forward the email to their decision makers. With smart phones today, they can be at a persons fingertips when needed.

Also, telling young adult children that they are not the decision makers, or at least not yet, is also necessary. If an 18 year old is not aware that an aunt or uncle is to make these decisions, they may be thrust into the role simply because they don’t know better.

An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and can include an advanced directive.

Reference: Valley News (Sep. 1, 2018) “Advance Directives Provide Clear Guidance for Care”