An advance directive includes a living will and a health care power of attorney. These documents establish your wishes in case you’re incapacitated by an accident or illness. In advance of such as event, you give medical power of attorney to a trusted friend or relative to make the decisions you would have made yourself. To set up a durable power of attorney for healthcare, call the legal experts at Albert Maimone & Associates, P.C. law practice.
What’s an Advance Directive?
At any age, you may be faced with an unexpected medical condition that incapacitates you enough so you can’t make decisions for yourself. An advance directive is a legal document that informs others about your wishes regarding your medical care if you’re unable to express yourself. This document also states who’s authorized to make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to.
This legal document goes into effect temporarily or permanently when you can’t express your medical care wishes. Doctors refer to your advance directive during a medical situation that renders you unconscious. You may tailor your advance directive to suit any religious or philosophical beliefs to guarantee you get desired medical care.
Making end-of-life decisions or preparing for an unexpected catastrophe is never easy to approach, but having an advance directive in writing gives you peace of mind. It also relieves your loved ones so they won’t have to make difficult decisions without your input. The skilled attorneys at the Albert Maimone & Associates law practice guide you through the process of preparing your advance directive, as well as:
When Is an Advance Directive Needed?
If you haven’t planned for your own future medical care before something happens to you, others must make decisions affecting your care. You may need an advance directive document in such situations as:
- You’ve been diagnosed with a condition that may cause you to become incapacitated.
- You’ve suffered a severe injury that makes it impossible to communicate.
- You’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- You’ve lapsed into a coma or have been sedated for your own good.
- You’re over the age of 65 and have been admitted to the hospital.
- You’re moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home.
- You suffer from dementia and can’t make cogent decisions.
Any adult may face a serious medical emergency when least expected. An advance directive reduces or eliminates disagreements about what health care decisions to make. Your advance directive often consists of multiple documents, including:
- A living will. This lets medical professionals know which procedures you want and don’t want if you’re not likely to regain consciousness.
- A durable power of attorney for healthcare. This document names the person you authorize to make decisions for you, also known as a healthcare proxy.
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What’s Included in a Living Will?
A living will is a written legal document that directs your doctors regarding on how you want to be treated if you have a terminal illness, a serious injury or a condition that causes you to become permanently unconscious with no detectable brain activity. Specific instructions in a living will may include:
- Which life-sustaining efforts you want and which specifically you don’t want
- Medications you want and those you don’t
- Preferred life-sustaining treatments, such as CPR, ventilator use, dialysis, tube feeding or artificial hydration
- Do not resuscitate (DNR) order
- Do not intubate (DNI) order
- Religious or philosophical beliefs you wish to observe
- Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST)
- A psychiatric advance directive (PAD)
- Interventions to manage pain and keep you comfortable
- Preferences about future medical treatments
- End-of-life arrangements
- Guidelines on organ donations, even if it means keeping you alive artificially temporarily
A living will is a legal document that details your wishes on future medical care. An advance directive includes a living will, health care power of attorney and other documents. To get help with these documents, seek out an experienced healthcare power of attorney lawyer like those at Albert Maimone & Associates.
What Is a Medical Power of Attorney in an Advance Directive?
Granting the power of attorney for health care requires a legal document. It designates a proxy or agent to express your medical care wishes in an advance directive. The durable power of attorney covers medical treatment when you’re incapable of making decisions. Responsibilities of the proxy with a healthcare power of attorney include:
- Representing your interests by making informed medical decisions on your behalf
- Requesting consultations with the medical team
- Discussing your condition with the medical team and reviewing your medical records
- Discussing treatment options with the doctor, as guided by the living will
- Requesting a second opinion before any major medical procedures
- Consenting to or refusing medical tests or treatments
- Making life-support decisions
- Authorizing your transfer from one doctor to another or to another medical institution
The health proxy identified in the medical power of attorney document is someone who’s familiar with your medical treatments, beliefs and values. Such knowledge helps the proxy make decisions that are in your best interests.
How Do I Choose a Health Care Power of Attorney?
The person you give the power of attorney for healthcare must be someone you trust without reservations. This person may have to make life-or-death decisions that reflect your wishes. Before you name someone, confirm that they:
- Are willing to perform the duties needed should something happen to you
- Will honor your wishes regarding what you want, not what they’d personally choose
You may choose one healthcare power of attorney, although you may choose additional individuals as backups, if your original health proxy is unavailable. Two witnesses must watch you sign the healthcare power of attorney form and confirm that you signed the form willingly. Your witnesses can’t be your healthcare proxy or one of the alternate choices.
What Do I Do with My Advance Directive?
Advance directives, living wills and health care proxies are sensitive legal documents. Your NYC lawyer guides you to obtain and maintain the documents based on New York law. Each state has procedures, guidelines and restrictions for creating these documents. For example, you must sign your living will in front of two witnesses who state that you appeared to sign the form willingly. Once completed, you have several other tasks to do, including:
- Make several copies of the completed forms
- Give copies to your medical power of attorney and your alternate medical power of attorney
- Give copies to your primary care doctor to put in your medical record
- Carry a copy when traveling
- File the original in a safe but accessible place, not in a safety deposit box
- Let your loved ones know that you’ve prepared advanced directives
Where Can I Find a Reputable Lawyer to Create My Advance Directive?
Preparing advance directives ensures that your healthcare decisions are honored in the event of an emergency. If you want to write an advance directive, get the best legal guidance in New York City. The boutique law firm of Albert Maimone & Associates offers a client-centered approach to all services. These experts deliver dependable and trustworthy advice and skilled legal services.
Your Queens attorney helps with a number of diverse legal matters, including estate planning, advance directives, estate administration and spousal beneficiary rights. Albert Maimone and his team serve the five boroughs of New York City — Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx and Brooklyn — as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island. Contact an experienced lawyer at the law firm today.
Albert Maimone & Associates P.C.127-16 14th Avenue
College Point, Queens, NY 11356 (718) 357-1216