What You Need to Know About Advance Healthcare Directives

A well-devised estate plan doesn’t just make arrangements for after your death. It can also make arrangements for how your affairs will be handled later in your life, if you have expensive medical bills or become unable to make decisions for yourself. One of the most useful legal documents for this kind of estate planning is the advanced healthcare directive. In this blog post, we will be answering some of the biggest questions our clients have about advance healthcare directives.

Is an advance healthcare directive the same as a Living Will?

A living Will is a type of advance healthcare directive, but it is not the only type. Advance healthcare directives can be split into the following three categories:

  • Living Will: This is used to declare your intentions for certain health care decisions. It is meant to be used if you become unable to make choices or express wishes. It can include whether or not you want palliative care, whether or not you want to be tube fed, and whether or not you would like to donate organs after death (Being an organ donor can impact what measures doctors take at the end of your life).
  • Medical power of attorney: This document allows you to establish a proxy. This person will be allowed to make your health care decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.
  • Do not resuscitate (DNR) orders: If your heart stops beating or your breathing ceases, do you want doctors to try to keep you alive? If not, this document is added to your medical record. 

Do advance healthcare directives expire?

No. Advance healthcare directives do not expire and will remain in effect unless or until changed. This means it is important to make sure you keep it up to date to reflect your current wishes. It is a good idea to revisit your entire estate plan at least once every three years.

Who should make an advance healthcare directive?

Everyone! We all like to hope that we will not have any health issues until we are very old, but people are injured in accidents every day. You never know when it may become important to have documentation of your wishes regarding your medical care.

How do I get started?

If you’re ready to get started with an advance healthcare directive, you will need the help of an attorney with experience in estate planning. At Solan, Park & Robello, we have the knowledge and capability to help you. Give us a call at (415) 777-3300 to get started. 

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Solan, Park & Robello

Solan, Park & Robello is a full-service probate and estate planning firm offering experienced counsel in a wide range of estate planning matters—from preparation to administration to litigation.

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