As a competent adult, an important right we have is the right to make our own decisions about our healthcare and treatment plans, and it is central to our concept of dignity, independence, and freedom in America. A competent adult has the right to consent or refuse medical treatment or medical services. However, due to illness or injury, one may not be able to communicate his or her wishes with respect to the medical treatment they desire to consent to or refuse. This inability to communicate may be temporary in the case of an emergency, or permanent in the case of a chronic healthcare problem or terminal illness. While no one likes to consider the possibility that they will be unable to make important healthcare decisions for themselves, which makes it easy to put off planning and procrastinate, emergencies and unforeseen circumstances can present themselves at any time. Advanced Healthcare Directives are important to ensuring that your wishes are honored in the future.
Planning for medical care in the event of the loss of your decision-making ability, also known as Advanced Healthcare Directives, includes a group of several types of legal documents which assist you in planning and setting forth your wishes should you be unable to express them yourself during a medical emergency. These legal documents can include:
When you determine your total estate plan, which may include a Last Will and Testament and/or a Trust, Advanced Healthcare Directives are an integral piece of any plan. Advanced Healthcare Directives are important to living the quality of life that is important to you. An Advanced Healthcare Directive can assist your family members with important and daunting decisions about your healthcare in the event of an emergency if you are unable to communicate your wishes.
If you are considering a comprehensive estate plan, or have healthcare concerns that you wish to address to ensure your wishes are honored, at Schmeltzer & Bostic, we can assist you with determining the best planning tools to use for your specific needs and prepare the necessary legal documents to ensure your healthcare wishes, whether to consent or refuse treatment or services, are honored, relieving your family of the often stressful decisions that must be made if you are unable to express your wishes during an emergency or ongoing illness.