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Advance Health Care Directive

What is it and what are its uses?

An Advance Health-Care Directive gives someone else the power to make medical and other health-care decisions on your behalf in the event that you lose the ability to make those decisions.  This document is also referred to as a Living Will or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health-Care Decisions.  In fact, this document contains the same information as the two aforementioned documents just compiled into a single form.  The two components to this document are the Durable Power of Attorney for Health-Care Decisions and Instructions for Health-Care.


Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions
In this section you designate a person called your Agent.  You may designate one or more agents to serve consecutively in order to make medical decisions for you in the event that you cannot make the decisions yourself.  It is important to choose an Agent who has knowledge of your beliefs and will be comfortable being the person with the final authority.  This section also necessarily contains a HIPAA release that allows your physician to reveal and discuss the aspects of your health-care with your agent.  The Advance Health-Care Directive becomes a legal document when it is signed and notarized, but you get to make the decision whether your Agent can act immediately or your inability to make health-care decisions for yourself, which is referred to as a springing power.


Instructions for Health Care
This section contains your specific instructions for your end-of-life treatment.  You make specific selections on whether you wish to have life sustaining treatment such as feeding tubes and drug administration for pain and discomfort.


What Happens If I Don’t Have One?
If you do not have an Advance Health-Care Directive you may have to go through the court process to establish a Guardianship of the Person in order for the Court to designate someone to make medical and other health-care decisions for you.  This may cause family strife because your family may not agree on who should be your Guardian or which health-care decisions to make.



 ​Disclaimer:  Do not rely on the above information as legal advice.  This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be legal advice. You should seek legal counsel from an attorney when approaching an Estate Planning issue to be sure you have a well thought out and integrated plan to achieve your goals.   Past results do not guarantee future results.  

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