Guidance To Medical Personnel And Your Loved Ones
An advance directive, commonly known as a “living will,” is a legal document expressing one’s wishes with regard to life-sustaining medical treatment and end-of-life care. This document takes effect when one is declared incapacitated. It is a simple way to advise your family and treating physicians of your desires and relieves your family members from having to make that difficult decision.
There are two distinct types of living wills, an instruction directive and a proxy directive. You may choose one or the other, or you may create a hybrid of the two.
- An instruction directive simply provides instructions/directions regarding health care should the patient be deemed incapacitated and unable to make his/her own medical decisions.
- A proxy directive instead appoints a health care representative to make those medical care decisions at incapacity. This is a family member or friend of your choosing to make decisions on your behalf.
Living wills commonly address heroic measures (resuscitation), artificial life support, coma and brain death, palliative care (pain medications), and other situations in which the person is near death.
Full-Service Estate Planning
In conjunction with the preparation of your living will, you should consider other basic estate planning documents such as a written will and powers of attorney. The attorneys of Smith Magram Michaud Colonna, P.C., can walk you through various scenarios to give you peace of mind about what will happen once these documents are in place.