Advance Medical Directives
In your advance directive for health care you appoint your health care representative (the person who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so), state your wishes about end-of-life decisions (a “Living Will”), you state your wishes about organ donation and, finally, you designate your choice of a conservator in case one is necessary or requested. This is all done in a single Advance Medical Directive.
Health Care Representative
Your Health Care Representative, sometimes called a Health Care Agent or Proxy is the person you want to handle medical decisions and options in the event that you are incapable of doing so. This is the person who doctors will talk to about surgical procedures, medications and end-of-life decisions. It is a good idea to have at least one, and preferably two back-up health care agents. You should also let your health care agent know that you have named them as your medical decision maker, and let your doctor know that you have designated a health care representative.
Modern medicine and technology mean that doctors have the ability to keep your body alive for years in a vegetative state. If you have strong feelings about the type of medical care you would want withheld or provided if you became unable to express those preferences, then you need a living will. A living will is your legal declaration of whether or not you want to receive life-supporting treatments, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation and artificial nutrition should you become incapacitated and unable to make your wishes known.
A living will takes the difficult burden of decision-making away from your loved ones. Without a living will, someone else will have to make decisions about life support systems. This can be a horrible predicament to put your loved ones in, especially when it is so easy to take this burden away with a living will. Like all other estate planning documents, a living will puts you in control of your future.
All of our Estate Plans include Advance Medical Directives.