Advance Healthcare Directives

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Advance Healthcare Directives

We have all seen and heard about the struggles families or family members have when it comes to making medical decisions about their loved ones. At times, families even fight over the decisions, either in court, at the hospital, or at each other’s homes. To take the potential pain and fighting out of the equation, it is important for all adults to create an Advance Healthcare Directive. To ensure you receive the medical care you desire, it is your responsibility to document your wishes and MNB can help you do that with an Advance Healthcare Directive.

Planning now will prevent the need for unneeded and unwanted court intrusion and expense, and potentially devastating consequences to you and your loved ones. Executing an Advance Healthcare Directive ensures that the person you want to act on behalf of your healthcare and end-of-life decisions, and the continued care of your children (if you desire), is identified and documented.

An Advance Healthcare Directive identifies the person you nominate to be your agent to make healthcare decisions (or to direct your doctor whether or not to withdraw life support if you are in a coma and near death) at the time you are no longer able to do so (i.e., when you are deemed incapacitated). If your ability to make medical decisions diminishes – whether by way of dementia, unexpected coma or brain damage, or otherwise – hospitals and doctors will required those decisions be made by a nominated agent or court-appointed Conservator before they will take any actions regarding your care and comfort. This could delay surgery, prescribing of needed medications, or lead to resuscitation when not desired.

One spouse may not want to burden the other spouse with the responsibility of making decisions regarding their healthcare or they may believe their spouse will do what the spouse desires and not what the patient actually wants. If the person you appoint and nominate to make healthcare decisions upon your incapacity is not your spouse, your directions may be ignored unless you appointed them as you agent in an Advance Healthcare Directive.

The Advance Healthcare Directive gives your family, medical care providers, and all other persons directions and an understanding of your wishes. It applies if you become mentally incapable of making healthcare decisions yourself without the need of proceeding to court to have a conservator of your person appointed.

The Advance Healthcare Directive can also specify how you want your personal decisions and your physical being handled during your incapacity or in the event of your death, including:

  • Whether life saving measures should be taken
  • Whether resuscitation measures should be taken
  • Whether to maintain life support
  • Whether you want cremation or burial
  • The location to spread your ashes or bury your body
  • The provisions and arrangements for any funeral or burial services
  • Organ donation
  • Cadaver donation
  • Consent for scientific/research testing
  • Whom is to have care and control of your pets
  • Whom is to have care and custody of your minor children
  • Where you are to live based on your level of care needed
  • Other directions that you desire to make regarding your care, comfort, and treatment

With their experience in the family law, business law, and estate planning arenas, the attorneys at MNB understand the importance of providing, and have the knowledge and experience to provide, the careful and proper planning you need to ensure your safety, comfort, and stability, and to alleviate your family of the pressures and uncertainty of what to do in the event of your incapacity.

If you are over the age of 18 and do not have legal documents regarding your desires and directions for your healthcare and medical treatment should you become incapacitated, it is advised you seek experienced legal counsel. MNB’s Estate Planning attorneys have the requisite knowledge and skill to make this as easy as possible. Our attorneys are ready to help you understand your options and take the steps needed to ensure the successful implementation of your wishes.