Advance Directives belong in everyone's estate plan. They provide assurance that even if you are not able to communicate your own wishes, you'll remain in control of your own medical destiny. Simply put, Advance Directives are written instructions that:
Express your wishes regarding the medical care you want to receive if you are incapacitated and cannot communicate your own desires.
Empower people you know and trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make your own decisions.
Many people mistakenly think their will provides this information. It does not! A will is a death instrument only. In order to retain control over your medical destiny, you need Advance Directives. These documents may include a Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney (also known as a health care surrogate), Do Not Resuscitate Order and other legal documents. Read about the various types of Advance Directives.
You have the legal right to give informed consent for medical treatment. The US Supreme Court has held that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects a citizen's "liberty interest in refusing unwanted medical procedures."
Because the wording of advance directives must be precise and encompass all possible scenarios, they should be drafted only in consultation with a certified, experience estate planning/elder law attorney. The Karp Law Firm can help.
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