Advance Healthcare Directive: Someone to Make Decisions if You Become Incapacitated

Advance Healthcare Directive: Someone to Make Decisions if You Become Incapacitated

Author: Saul Kobrick

We don’t like to think about what would happen to us if we were injured or became ill and could no longer make medical decisions for ourselves. But it happens to people of all ages, every single day.

Without direction, families left to figure it out on their own

If you don’t tell your doctors and your family what your wishes would be in a situation like this, then they’re left to try to figure things out for themselves. In addition to the fact that they may or may not make the decisions you’d want, this adds even more stress to an already heartbreaking situation for your family. No formal instructions may also mandate the need for court proceedings to appoint a legal guardian for you.

Advance Healthcare Directive: instructions for your care

An Advance Healthcare Directive lets you tell your medical practitioners what types of life support measures and long-term care you do and don’t want. You leave instructions concerning medical interventions such as blood transfusions, chemotherapy, CPR, IV drugs, medical tests, and the administration of specific drugs.

Naming a healthcare agent

An Advance Healthcare Directive also lets you name a healthcare agent. This person is someone who is legally of age and who will be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf if you’re incapable of doing so. Your agent can be anyone you choose; often, people choose a spouse or an adult child. It’s important that you talk to your agent before appointing him or her. You’ll want to make sure this person is willing to take on the responsibility of making crucial medical decisions on your behalf. You’ll want to keep your agent informed of your preferences concerning medical treatment and intervention. Of course, he or she will use the instructions you’ve written in your Directive for guidance, but if a situation arises that’s not covered in the Directive, your agent will be responsible for making decisions based on what he or she believes is in your best interest.

Is it time to create or update your Living Trust? Stop in at one of our three California Document Preparers offices soon. We also include a Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive in our Living Trust package.