What is an Advanced Healthcare Directive?

What is an Advanced Healthcare Directive?

An Advanced Healthcare Directive is a written set of instructions that comports with the requirements of the law, so the hospitals, doctors, nurses, and care facilities will accept it and administer medical treatment in accordance with those written wishes. 

I live more than eight hundred miles away from where my parents moved. I couldn’t take care of their medical needs or help them if I wanted to. Without a previously executed Advanced Healthcare Directive in place, there is no guarantee that they would get the type of care they know they want in the future when they are no longer able to make those decisions.

Peace of Mind

An Advanced Healthcare Directive is not only for your medical care, but your mental health as well. If you become incapacitated for physical or mental reasons and are unable to manage your financial affairs, who will do it for you? Many clients are under a false impression that their spouse or children will automatically be there to take care of them when they become incapacitated — and that they will be able to simply step in, direct medical personnel to follow their wishes, and use their money to pay for whatever treatment or services they need. Legally, for others to be able to manage your finances, they must have authorization — either previously from you or currently from the Court.

Certainty and Timeliness

The Advanced Healthcare Directive is more than just a document to ensure you receive the care you want, from the people you want, in the time and fashion you desire. It is a legal instrument that provides certainty, prevents confusion, and saves your loved ones the time, hassle, and cost of going to court to get you the health care the way you wanted. Just like a Will must go through Probate to determine that it is authentic, the Court will require some input if you have not put your wishes in writing. For a loved one to obtain authorization from the Court, they must petition the court to declare you legally incompetent

The procedure is long and costs money that they may not have or have access to. It is likely stressful, considering they just had you declared incompetent, and you will likely be a month or two late on every recurring bill statement that comes to the house. That person managing your affairs may be the same person you would have picked anyway, but because you failed to act, they may have to return to court every year and demonstrate exactly how they are spending the money from your account — the one they now have access to after that lengthy court process. 

An Important Component of Family Estate Planning

A Will does not take effect until you die. A Power of Attorney can allow someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, but may not be drafted in a way that sets out your specific wishes with respect to when, where, how, and from whom your healthcare will be administered. Without a proper document in place, I would be too far from my parents to help. If you or your loved ones are in a similar situation, make sure that it is not an issue.

  A good Family Estate Plan includes your chosen medical care path. We carefully help you create a clear and comprehensive Advanced Healthcare Directive. You can pick someone you trust to make sure you get the treatment you want — even a friend over a family member if you believe they will carry out your true wishes. With a Durable Power of Attorney for your healthcare, your chosen agent will have the final say on your behalf for all medical care should you become permanently incapacitated or terminally ill.  If you prepare your plan ahead of time, you only need to find someone who will carry out your wishes, spelled out in front of them.  This could be a big burden out of the lap of a family member, who really does not want to make any final decisions.Contact us today so we can help you properly plan for your future care.

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