- Estate Planning
- Elder Law
- Special Needs Trusts
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• Also Known as Directive to Physicians or Living Wills •
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Along with a Medical Power of Attorney, it is important to execute an Advanced Directive. This document is known by many names, including Directive to Physicians and Living Wills. This document is a person’s opportunity to state his or her treatment preferences in the event of illness or incapacity. The Directive is not a “DNR” and, therefore, is not binding on the individual’s physicians. The Directive allows the individual to express his or her general preferences regarding life sustaining treatment in the event of two broad instances:
Often clients do not want to sign their Directive to Physicians because they are concerned that they are making a binding decision. However, a person’s agent under his or her Medical Power of Attorney gets to make the final decisions regarding treatment plan. In addition, the individual will always make his or her own medical decisions as long are he or she is able to. The Directive will only come into effect if the person is no longer able to make his or her own medical decisions and his or her agent, under Medical Power of Attorney, is having to make those decisions instead. An Advanced Directive allows a person’s agent and his or her family to have some guidance in what the person would have wanted and how to best proceed with treatment. Even with this document in place, we recommend our clients have a conversation with their agents and family regarding treatment preferences.
An Advanced Directive is one of several key components in an estate plan. To discuss your wishes with one of our Attorneys, contact us.