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Which estate documents can establish my care wishes?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | Firm News |

In the event you suffer incapacitation, you will probably lose your ability to communicate. This could be a major problem if you cannot tell your health care providers how you want or do not want medical treatment. Fortunately, you may establish your future medical care wishes by drafting specific estate documents.

According to U.S. News and World Report, there are different estate documents that may work in concert to make your health care wishes clear in the event you cannot convey your desires to your doctors.

A living will

You can describe your preferred medical treatments for given situations in a living will. In the event you become incapacitated, your physicians can refer to this document. You may be as broad or as specific about your care as you wish. A living will can cover any treatment you want to address, including whether you want doctors to sustain your life if you enter a vegetative state.

You may also list guidelines for your care if you want to comply with your religious requirements regarding medical treatment. Additionally, you may address whether you want doctors to donate your organs. In the event of your death, your living will may mandate that you wish to donate your organs for transplant purposes or for medical research.

A health care proxy

Another important step is to give another person the power to make health care decisions on your behalf. A health care proxy document designates someone to serve you as your proxy to let your doctors know of your care wishes and also to tell doctors how to treat you.

Your proxy may help ensure that health care providers follow your living will. In the event you have not placed certain care wishes in your living will, your proxy could let your doctors know what would you want for your treatment.

A do-not-resuscitate order

You may not want care providers to perform resuscitation actions in the event your breathing or heart stops. If so, you may draft a do-not-resuscitate order. This will instruct care providers not to engage in mouth-to-mouth or other actions to revive you if you die. A DNR may be a separate document, but you could also include one in your living will.

If you complete all of these documents and sign them, be certain to distribute them to whoever will need them. Such people may include your health care proxy, your durable power of attorney, or your doctor. Also be sure to keep your original copies in a safe location, most likely somewhere in your home.