If you’re a senior – or have a loved one who’s a senior – you’ve probably heard the term. Many of us, though, don’t really understand what it means.
An Advance Directive allows you to designate someone to make health care choices for you, after you’re no longer able to make them for yourself. However, you’ve got to designate this person before this happens.
These documents can include items such as power of attorney for health care decisions, living wills, and more-informal directives that might be expressed in letters, conversations, and even your conduct.
Simply put, your Advance Directive is a document that will ensure your wishes are being followed! It affords you the opportunity to state, ahead of time, whether you’d like to receive life-prolonging procedures or donate organs, for example, and, if not, the person who should express your wishes to medical staff.
There should be no surprises for the people involved, though! You’ve got to discuss your wishes with them ahead of time. And “the people involved” include your family, friends, and health care providers.
The most-frequently used directive in this document is the Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions. This allows you to actually appoint someone to make decisions for you. And it doesn’t take effect until you’re no longer able to make – or communicate – these decisions yourself. (In case of changing family circumstances, however, your document can be provoked and re-written.)
An Advance Directive won’t do you much good, though, if it’s locked away in a file cabinet where no one can find it! You need to give copies to your physician(s), family, friends, clergy, and attorney. Ask your doctor to enter it in her records. And when you go to the hospital…”don’t leave home without it!”
Although valid in every state, it’s a good idea to have this document witnessed and notarized.
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve done thousands of Advance Directives over the past 33 years. And we’ve helped thousands of South Florida families with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, asset protection, long-term care planning, and assistance with Medicaid or the VA. We don’t just “specialize” in Elder Law…Elder Law is the only thing we do!
And we’re just a phone call away.
What’s An Advanced Directive?