Advance Health Care Directives Ensure Your Medical Instructions Are Known And Honored
Americans are living longer, on average, than they used to. While this is largely a positive development, living longer often increases the chances of medical complications and the need to make difficult decisions around end-of-life care. Unless you have made your wishes known ahead of time, the burden may fall on your spouse or children.
As you work with our attorneys at Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. to draft a comprehensive estate plan, we will guide you through the process of creating an advance health care directive, also known as a living will. We will ensure that your instructions are clearly communicated and that your documents will be considered legally valid under Pennsylvania law.
How Do Advance Directives Work?
So long as you are of sound mind and have the ability to communicate, you can simply convey your medical care instructions directly to providers. An advance health care directive is necessary when you are incapacitated (unable to make or communicate decisions yourself). This could be due to a degenerative illness like dementia or an accident that leaves you in coma.
An advance health care directive (living will) lists your instructions for medical care and end-of-life treatment in the event of incapacity. Topics addressed often include:
- What kind of health care you want and do not want
- Whether you want to receive life-support treatment and, if so, which kinds (CPR, a ventilator, a feeding tube, etc.)
- Whether you want to approve a “do not resuscitate” order if you are in a terminal condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness
- Whether you want to be an organ donor when you pass away
- Whether you want your end-of-life care to be in a hospital or home setting (when possible)
You can also include nonmedical instructions in your advance directive, including whether you wish to be visited by clergy.
Choosing A Trusted Advocate To Make Decisions For You
Most of your instructions and wishes can be spelled out in the advance health care directive. For any additional decisions that cannot be made ahead of time, you can designate a medical decision maker, also known as durable medical power of attorney. This is someone you trust to know and honor your wishes and to make important decisions that would likely align with what you would have chosen for yourself.
Being an agent nominated in a power of attorney is an important responsibility, and our attorneys can discuss the details with you during the estate planning process.
Contact Us For Reliable And Convenient Estate Planning Assistance
Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. has offices in Pottstown, Pennsburg, West Chester, and Reading, Pennsylvania. To schedule your initial consultation with one of our experienced and attentive attorneys, we invite you to call or submit an online contact form.