Most of us would like to live as long as possible; however, in certain situations, medical intervention causes more problems than it solves.
For example, medical treatment to preserve the life of a permanently comatose patient can force family members to ponder the need for a quality of life beyond a continued heartbeat.
Artificially preserving a life can be financially draining and emotionally harrowing for family members, and undignified for the patient. However, it is legally possible to prevent a prolonged and unwanted hospital care.
A term most people recognize, and which many states use, is “living will.” It describes a document which orders the discontinuation of life-sustaining treatment when the patient is terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
California has a more expansive version of a living will called an Advanced Healthcare Directive. It covers situations beyond unconsciousness or terminal illness, and lets you appoint agents to make medical decisions for you, in case you can no longer act “in capacity.”
Acting in capacity means that you are mentally competent to fully understand the risks and possible benefits of medical treatment. As long as you are capable of this, you can make your own healthcare decisions.
The value of an Advanced Healthcare Directive is that it lets you make these decisions early, while you are “in capacity,” so that if a time comes when you are not, those providing treatment will know what you want.
Once you create your Advanced Healthcare Directive, you should give copies to anyone who needs the information, such as your doctor, your agents, or your hospital.
Discussing these decisions with your doctor may yield information about the situations you may encounter, based on your current health, so that you can address them in your planning.
Making your intentions clear early will spare family members the burden of guessing.
They can petition the court for the right to make health decisions for you, but having a plan already in place will remove the pressure and possible guilt of making drastic decisions affecting your care.
In addition, an Advanced Healthcare Directive allows you full control over your health for as long as you are living, despite whatever emergency may arise.
If you are interested in taking control over the future of your health as part of your estate planning, call the Law Office of Richard Nevins. A qualified attorney will bring years of legal experience to exploring your health management options. Fill out the form so that we will understand your situation before we meet with you.