A Living Will, or Health Care Directive, is one of the documents in a comprehensive estate plan. Some folks also call these Advanced Directives. They clearly state your wishes regarding certain life-sustaining medical treatments in case you’re in a permanent unconscious condition. A Living Will might help avoid arguments at a time when your family is grieving.

Even if you have already told your family what you prefer, there can be disagreements about what you actually wanted. Sometimes health care protocols and/or legal restrictions may lead to arguments and even court battles. A Health Care Directive puts your wishes in writing and carries the same legal weight as though you were directly saying which health care options you want. This is the best way to ensure your family members and your medical care providers follow your wishes.

There is a difference between a Healthcare Directive and a POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) form or a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. POLST forms allow those who have health issues to state they do not want life-saving treatment. These must be completed during a consultation with your doctor.

You might experience a medical event that doesn’t fit squarely within the situations outlined in your Living Will. This is where a different estate planning document, a Medical or Health Care Power of Attorney, could come into play. A Medical Power of Attorney authorizes someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. It covers a different set of circumstances from a Health Care Directive, but it’s equally as important.

Whether you would like to prepare your first set of estate planning documents or you need to update your previous estate plan, contact Cooney Law Offices today. We can explain your options and prepare an estate plan that fits your life and your wishes. Cooney Law Offices. We can help!