It is wise to make plans for the future, or for unforeseen circumstances. You might be healthy and hearty today, making all the decisions you need to make by yourself, laying down your preferences in your life circumstances, including your health – but you have to know that one day, you will be in a position where you might no longer be able to make those decisions yourself. Accidents happen and leave people incapacitated, people grow old, and people get sick. In situations like that, when you do not have the ability to make immediate decisions for yourself, you can still have your word going for you. But these words have to be properly documented and acknowledged by the right authorities, and when the need arises, it will come to play. That is exactly what advanced health care directives will do for you.
What is Advanced Health Care Directive?
It implies a document containing a person’s health care instructions – preferences, and decisions, which are to become effective in the event that the person is no longer able to make those health care decisions by himself/herself. A document like the advance health directive is powerful enough that you can refuse unwanted treatments or accept treatment you want, even at a point where you are probably unconscious of your health conditions or things happening around you.
Types of Advanced Health Care Directive
There are two major types of advanced health care directives; they are
- Living will
- Durable power of attorney of health care
These are technical terms that a consultation with your Advanced Health Care Directive Attorney in Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley California
can help you clarify.
You know the way you have a last will or testament to guide your estate plan to the last? That is the way a living will is meant to guide your health choices when you are no longer able to do so yourself. If your doctor comes up with a diagnosis stating that you are in coma, or you have Alzheimer’s disease, or in any health condition where you cannot make health decisions for yourself, and you have a living will, all that needs to be done is to consult your living will and carry out the wishes you made regarding your health issues. There is no need for an agent in this case. Your instructions are directed at the attending physician. The physician is obliged to carry out those instructions and is expected to yield to nothing contrary to the instructions from anyone, even from your family.
Durable power of attorney:
This is a type of documented healthcare directive where an agent is assigned to make healthcare decisions for another person if he or she is unavailable to make such decisions. The signer of this document delegates the right to make health decisions to someone else. Note that the signer of durable power of attorney of health does not necessarily have to be down with a terminal disease, or in coma, before the agent’s right can come into play. The agent has the right to make health decisions for the signer even while the signer is still healthy and hearty but probably unavailable for some reasons.
Who ensures that your will is carried out?
It is mandatory to appoint an agent or an attorney-of-fact in the cause of creating an advanced health care directive for yourself. Your agent is the one who makes sure all of your wishes about your health care are protected. It is important to appoint an agent who is trust worthy (at least by your standards), clearly understands your wishes, and is willing to act in accordance to your will and in good fate.
If it is a living will, the attending doctor acts as your agent. The doctor is under the hypocrite’s oath and owes the signer the obligation to respect his or her will as expressed in the living will. If it is a durable power of attorney of health, then there has to be an agent right from the very beginning of the whole process of creating an advanced health care directive. This agent is meant to be familiar with the directives, the instructions there in and willing to carry them out in the absence of the signer.
Can I change my decision/mind?
Why not? You can change your mind about advanced health care directives over and over again, at different points. You might decide to change your agent, you might decide to change some decisions made in the directive, or to add something to it, and it is all up to you. So, at any point which you want to change your mind about anything in your directive, all you have to do is consult with the appropriate parties and then proceed with the actions needed to revoke, or update the will. This is the reason you need to seek out an expert Advanced Health Care Directive Attorney in Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley California
for proper guidance.
Misconceptions About Health Care Directives
A lot of times, people tend to assume things instead of finding out what the real deal is. The same applies to advanced health care directive; there are a lot of assumptions and misconceptions about the aim of the advanced health care directive. Here are some of the misconceptions/assumptions followed by the facts.
- Misconception: Advanced health care directive expresses what the signer does not want, like a transplant, or in some cases, the wish not to be treated of a particular sickness (which may result to death).
An advanced health care directive expresses both what the signer wants and does not want. It does not have to be all about the signer’s wish to be left to die of a particular illness; it can also have the signer’s wish to accept treatment, organs for transplant and things like that.
- Misconception: “an advanced (health care) directive gives away my right to make health care decisions on my own”
If you get an advanced health care directive, it does not, in any way, take away your power to make decisions for yourself as long as you are competent and available to do so. You can also revoke decisions made on your behalf by your agent if you deem it necessary – it is all about what you want.
- Misconception: “I am not very sure about all of this. I have to wait till I am sure of what I want, I still got time. Come to think of it, I am very young and advanced health care directive is for old people”.
It is called “precaution”. Do not wait till you get old or till you are sure of what you want before you can get an advanced health care directive for yourself. You might still be young, or unsure of what you want, but you might experience unforeseen circumstances that will leave you incapacitated, like an accident. Better get one now to be on the safe side.
For all your Advanced Health Care Directive related matters, the Leventhal Law Group, P.C offers free and no obligation consultation with a qualified attorney. Call 818-347-5800 for a free consultation today!