Advanced Health Care Directives
An Advanced Health Care Directive forms an integral part of your overall estate plan. It works in conjunction with your Power of Attorney to provide specific instructions in relation to your medical treatment for life sustaining measure when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
An Advanced Health Directive:
- outlines what medical treatment or health care you want if you can no longer make decisions for yourself. It can be general (e.g. that you wish to receive all available treatment) or specific (e.g. that you wish to decline a certain medical treatment)
- enables you to appoint an attorney for health and personal matters (or it can refer to your existing power of attorney)
- includes information that a doctor, or other health care providers should know, including health conditions, allergies, and religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs that could affect your care.
You can also outline the quality of life that would be acceptable to you. For example, you might ask that life-sustaining measures to be withheld or withdrawn if you have:
- a terminal illness with no known cure or chance of recovery
- severe and irreversible brain damage, and you can’t communicate
- a severe illness or injury that you’ll probably never recover from.
We have discussed the benefits of an Advanced Health Care Directive with clients who have had to rely upon them when their loved one is incapacitated and facing a terminal illness. The most common response is that the attorney does not have to make those difficult decisions about a loved one’s care and that person has already made those decisions for themselves.
If you are facing a difficult time in your life where your health is concerned or you would like to maintain control over the treatment that you receive should that time come, then make a call to us. We can discuss your options and prepare your Advanced Health Directive for you.