What You Need to Know About Advance Healthcare Directives

Perhaps you’re looking ahead to the next stage of life and you’ve considered advance healthcare directives (AHCD), or maybe you think you have decades before you need to make decisions regarding your medical care. In either case, setting up an AHCD is an easy way to make your wishes known, ensure that your loved ones don’t have to make all of the tough decisions, and get the care you deserve.

What Can Advance Healthcare Directives Do?

Advance healthcare directives can outline your healthcare preferences for your care providers and family members, allowing you to plan ahead for a wide range of scenarios. Your Directive should explain which lifesaving measures you’re willing to accept and which ones you refuse, what type of pain management you want, and how much intervention you want.

What You Cannot Do With an AHCD

It’s important to note that an AHCD has a very strict scope. It only addresses healthcare decisions and provides access to healthcare records. It does not grant your healthcare agent the freedom to make financial decisions on your behalf, nor does it give them any say in your financial affairs. If you want someone else to take responsibility for your financial affairs when you become incapacitated, that’s a different legal procedure usually dealt with in a financial durable power of attorney.

Writing an Advance Directive

It’s helpful to work with an estate planning attorney to ensure that you address all possible aspects of your healthcare needs and outline your wishes in the proper way. With an AHCD form, you can specify:

    • Which lifesaving procedures should and should not be used.
    • Your preferences for pain management.
    • The use of other medications.
    • Tissue and organ donation.
    • Who has access to your medical records.
    • Who makes healthcare decisions on your behalf.

The form should include your name, your signature, the date it was written, and the signatures of two witnesses or a notary public stamp.

How an AHCD Can Help Your Family

Not only does an AHCD ensure that your rights and wishes are respected, it can also support your family during difficult times. If you are incapacitated, your loved ones are thrust into the position of deciding what you would want. If you haven’t made those wishes clear, it can put intense mental strain on them.

Additionally, without an AHCD, your healthcare providers may be unable to give your loved ones updates. In a medical emergency, every moment counts. An Advance Healthcare Directive lets your care providers make the most of every moment and make decisions that respect your preferences. Even if you are young and healthy, planning for the worst case scenario can save your family lots of stress and heartache.

No matter what your healthcare preferences are, it’s crucial to outline them in detail and name a medical power of attorney. The team at Werner Law Firm is here to help. Call us at 1 (800) 752-9937 and schedule your free consultation.

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