Or Advance Healthcare Directives
Also known as advance healthcare directives, a living will is a document that advises physicians or appointed family members how to handle end-of-life healthcare decisions. When an individual can no longer express his or her wishes for treatment to a physician, the living will directs the physicians or the authorized representative on how to proceed with medical care. These can be controversial in nature as they may sometimes contradict the wishes of family members; however, a living will ensures that your preferences are always known and followed. When sickness or injury strikes, this document will be your voice and can be critical in making sure your health is handled as you prefer.
Having a living will is important regardless of your current health status or age but should certainly be a part of estate planning for those who are ill. If there is the possibility of surgery, hospitalization, or you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, the living will makes your wishes known and are more likely to be carried out by healthcare professionals. It goes into effect when your doctor determines that you are no longer capable of making informed decisions about your treatment.
Under Pennsylvania law, the individual chosen to carry out or make decisions on your behalf is known as the agent. Generally, this person is a spouse, partner, relative, or close friend. One may not make an agent of his or her attending physician unless related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Choosing an agent is a serious decision which is also discussed on our Power of Attorney page; dependability is an important characteristic for the job.
The Doylestown estate lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C. can assist in completing the required forms as part of an overall estate plan. Even if you choose to forego some of the other estate planning documents, the living will or advance directive should be a primary concern. Contact our office today by calling (215) 486-8171 or submitting an online inquiry form for more information and to schedule a consultation with a Doylestown estate lawyer.