When putting together a will and estate plan for clients, we also make sure to include a health care directive. For many clients, the health care documents we prepare are as important (or even more important) than their will. It feels like a more immediate need for many folks. In some cases, I’ve had clients sign their health care documents immediately and come back months later to get their will or trust documents signed. (That’s not a scenario I recommend, but for some clients, I understand…)

What’s In a Health Care Directive

Each client has a different idea of what they want to be addressed in their health care directive. Some clients do not want mental health provisions in their documents. Others have specific religious beliefs that they want to be expressed. Some examples of provisions in a health care directive are,

  • Pregnancy;
  • Mental Health treatment;
  • Religious/faith beliefs for treatment;
  • Organ donation;
  • Performance of an autopsy;
  • Cremation/burial decision;
  • Life-prolonging medical treatment; and
  • Other “end of life” support and treatment.

These are simply general categories. For example, life-prolonging treatments can include,

  • Pain management medications;
  • Ventilators;
  • Dialysis;
  • Antibiotics; and
  • Blood transfusions.

Along with these direct medical decisions, there are also social considerations and the financial considerations that go along with medical treatment.

A Note of Caution

Even though the topics and areas are general, for each person, the specific provisions and decisions are unique. You don’t (and shouldn’t) just download a form from the web and blindly sign it. It could be the wrong form. Or it could be granting all kinds of powers and decisions that you don’t intend.

Working with an attorney, the document itself does not need to be complex. But it needs to be yours.

Next Steps

Already have a Healthcare Power of Attorney but it’s been a few years and you may want to make some changes? Never even thought of it before but now think it’s a good idea? Call my office to set up a review of your document or a meeting to talk about creating one for you – (877) AMAYERS.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.