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Healthcare Directive / Living Will Attorney

It is human nature to place more attention upon our lives as we live them as opposed to looking forward to what might happen should we die or become incapacitated. It is important to take the time to carefully think through these kinds of issues, however, despite how uncomfortable they might make us feel. Failing to do so could have significant consequences should you ever fall into the position of being unable to make your own decisions about your healthcare and the continuation or termination of certain life-preservation methods. A healthcare directive, also known as a living will, can help ensure that your wishes are upheld even when you cannot oversee them yourself.

What is a healthcare directive/living will?

In general, a healthcare directive or living will is comprised of at least two separate documents. The first is something known as a durable power of attorney for healthcare. The second is the living will itself. You should speak with an experienced attorney to ensure that all of the conditions necessary to uphold your wishes and directions are in place when you make the decision to create a healthcare directive.

 

To put it simply, a healthcare directive is something that grants someone else the power to make medical decisions on your behalf should you ever be unable to make them on your own. This is where the durable power of attorney for healthcare comes in. “Power of attorney” is the authority to legally act for someone else in specific areas of life, whether it be financial or healthcare related. A “durable” power of attorney refers to a power of attorney that endures even if you become incapacitated and are no longer able to continue to give your assent to the contract. This part is important because if the power of attorney is not durable, it will expire once you become unable to make your own decisions and could be rendered useless.

 

Once you have your power of attorney for healthcare in place, you should start listing your wishes and preferences when it comes to medical treatment you would like to have as well as the kind of medical treatment you would prefer to not have. This document is the healthcare directive/living will, and it gives the individual to whom you grant power of attorney guidelines and directions regarding your medical treatment and the kinds of things they should pursue.

To whom can I grant power of attorney for healthcare?

There are a few restrictions to keep in mind when you grant someone power of attorney for healthcare. They must not be younger than 19, for example, and they also cannot be your healthcare provider. In general, you are also prohibited from naming anyone who is an employee of your healthcare provider unless you are related to them, in which case you can name them anyway. On a practical level, you should make sure you trust the person you name to make the right decisions and follow your living will.

For more information about healthcare directives and how you can set one up in Alabama, contact Sara Doty, Attorney at Law, LLC, today! Call us for an initial consultation at 256-519-9970.