The Pauls Valley Democrat’s recent article entitled “Advance directives and living wills” explains that an Advance Directive has three parts:
- A living will
- Naming of your health care agent; and
- Your directions for anatomical gifts.
The individual that you name as your Health Care Proxy will make decisions for your treatment and care, if you’re unable to do so. These decisions may extend to all medical issues and aren’t limited to end-stage, life determining decisions that are mentioned in your living will. This is a form of power of attorney that authorizes your agent to act in your behalf to address issues like these:
- Accessing your medical information
- Discussing your treatment options with your healthcare providers
- Getting second opinions on your diagnosis
- Selecting and authorizing various medical tests
- Your placement in a hospital or care facility
- Transferring your care to a new physician; and
- Communicating your wishes on life support in terminal or unconscious situations.
For end of life decisions, your health care proxy is bound by your written wishes as expressed in your living will. Life support can be terminated, only if you so authorize in writing. Your healthcare proxy can’t make that decision for you, because that is “personal” to you. You may select one or more persons to act as your proxy, although if two are selected, you should predefine what to do in the event of a conflict.
A best practice is to choose a person who’s younger than you who is geographically close, a person with time to assist you and with whom you’re willing to share in advance your wishes, likes and dislikes as to medical care. This person should be trusted to act and honor your wishes.
Because many decisions relate to your very personal concerns about religion, death and dying, these feelings should be shared with your health care proxy before any serious situation.
The Advance Directive is a very important document that pertains to your wishes, as they relate to medical care, end-of-life and death.
Parts I and II can discuss your wishes for care treatment, as well as your choice of a person to represent your wishes. These are two very important issues. Take the time to consider the advance written expression of your own wishes. Speak with your estate planning attorney if you have any concerns.
Reference: Pauls Valley Democrat (Feb. 12, 2020) “Advance directives and living wills”