“What Should Be Part of Your Health Care Directive?” by Attorney Nicole Livingston
Creating a health care directive is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and one of the most important things that you can do in order to try and protect your loved ones. You never know when a medical emergency will arise, as illness and injury can affect people young and old. If you suffer a serious medical problem and cannot speak for yourself about the kinds of care you do, and do not, want to receive, an advanced directive can provide important instructions about your wishes.
Making an advanced directive for health care is not something to be taken lightly, as you are literally making life and death decisions. You should get help from an experienced attorney to find out about how to create your advanced directive for healthcare and to ensure that you follow Maryland laws to use the proper forms.
A qualified estate planning attorney can provide assistance in determining what you need to do to plan ahead in case of a medical emergency and can assist you in going through the entirety of the process of creating advanced directives.
What Should be Part of Your Health Care Directive?
The State of Maryland Office of Attorney General has prepared a Guide to Maryland Healthcare Decisions, which can help you to better understand the ways that you can plan in advance to determine what happens if you suffer an incapacitating illness or injury.
If you cannot provide instructions or refuse or decline care in your medical state, your advanced plan will allow your family to avoid confusion over who should make decisions on your behalf and will allow your family to avoid going to court to have someone appointed to make decisions for you. Your loved ones also won’t feel uncertain about what you would have preferred when it comes to the use of extraordinary measures to save your life.
There are a few different things you can do to make your advanced plans for care. As the Office of the Attorney General explains, one thing you can do is to name a healthcare agent. Your healthcare agent is a person who you trust, who you know will respect your preferences and make the right kinds of decisions on your behalf. The health care agent will make any decisions that you did not expressly make in advance about your care.
In addition to naming a healthcare agent, a Maryland law called the Health Care Decisions Act also gives you the right to express your preferences about specific kinds of procedures and interventions you want, or don’t want, in medical emergencies. You can use a Living Will to express your treatment preferences on issues like whether you want a feeding tube to be used or artificial hydration or other measures used to save your life.
There are specific requirements that must be followed in order for a health care directive to be legally enforceable. The Attorney General provides some sample forms that you can use to make your living will and to name your health care agent. You don’t have to use those forms, nor do you have to address every single issue that a living will could address.
However, you do need to have a signature on the advanced directives that you create and you must have two witnesses who observe you signing the forms. The witnesses who observe the signing of the forms can be almost any adult, except the person who you are naming as your health care agent may not be a witness to the signing of your health care directive that named him as an agent.
Getting Help from An Annapolis Incapacity Planning Lawyer
Sinclair Prosser Gasior can guide you in understanding the types of decisions that you can make in advance with regards to healthcare in a medical emergency. Our legal team can also help you to identify the different steps that you need to take to make your wishes known so you get to determine who makes decisions on your behalf and what kind of care you want to receive and want to decline.
To find out more about how you can plan ahead in case of a serious illness or serious injury, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 410-573-4818 or contact us online to get personalized advanced from an Annapolis incapacity planning lawyer about all aspects of preparing for a medical emergency. Give us a call today to find out more.
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