Living Wills & Advanced Health Directive
The future can be equal parts promising and threatening. Depending on your personality, the unknown may fill you with excitement or apprehension. Planning for the unknown, especially where your health is concerned, can remove some of the uncertainty and give remarkable peace of mind. The best time to prepare is now, while you have the capacity to do so. Estate planning laws are complicated. To be sure that your unique situation and personal beliefs are accurately reflected, it is important to consult an attorney.
The estate planning attorneys at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law are familiar with every aspect of healthcare advance directive issues. The estate planning attorneys at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law understand the sensitive nature of these topics and are committed to providing each of our clients with personal attention. We encourage our clients to speak candidly about their wishes so that, together, we can create the best documents possible for taking control of future health care challenges.
To discuss your situation and options, contact our office by calling 812-725-8224 or filling out our online form.
What Is An Advance Directive?
Making a will to determine what happens to your property after your death is a principal part of estate planning, but it’s only one element. Having documents that can speak for you when you are not able to speak for yourself is another key piece for everyone to have, regardless of age, health condition or financial ability. Health care advance directives are written, legal instructions that allow you to make decisions now regarding future medical care. They guide medical professionals and caregivers if you’re terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life. Unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age. Planning ahead can help avoid unnecessary suffering, relieve your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions during a crisis, and reduce confusion about the choices you would want made on your behalf.
There are a number of possible end-of-life care decisions that are appropriate to address in a living will, such as mechanical ventilation, resuscitation, tube feeding, dialysis, antibiotics, palliative care and organ donation. A living will does not have to mention all life-extending options; just list your specific choices. A living will removes liability from healthcare professionals for following your medical care wishes regarding artificially administered, life-prolonging treatments and is consulted only if you are unable to communicate those wishes. To be invoked, a doctor must conclude that you are no longer competent and must attest that you are in an end-stage medical condition or a persistent vegetative state.
You may use the living will to designate a health care representative to make medical decisions on your behalf in accordance with the directions and limitations you lay out.
To be valid, a living will must be signed in front of two witnesses and a notary public. Your witnesses cannot be your parent, spouse, child, physician, anyone who would inherit your assets, or any person financially responsible for your healthcare. Inform your loved ones, your health-care representative, physician, attorney and any other healthcare providers that you have an advance directive. Give them copies, but keep the original in a safe, accessible place. If you receive a new serious diagnosis, have a change of marital status, or experience a change in your feelings toward end-of-life care, consider reviewing your living will and creating a new one if necessary.
Appointment Of A Health Care Representative
The health care representative is referred to by different names from state to state. The same person with the same position as the representative may be called the health care agent, proxy, surrogate, attorney-in-fact, or patient advocate. An appointment of health care representative document is similar to a health care representative designation in a living will, except it can be executed on its own.
Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)
You don’t need to have an advance directive or a living will to have a DNR order stating that you do not wish to be resuscitated in the event of a cardiac arrest. If you have only a DNR order, be sure that your loved ones are aware of your decision and keep the form where it is easy to find. Indiana law has provisions in it to accommodate those who have a terminal condition or a medical condition such that if they were to suffer a heart attack, resuscitation would be unsuccessful or within a short period of time they would suffer a repeated heart failure. If your heart stops beating or you stop breathing, a DNR means that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will not be performed. Resuscitation encompasses mouth-to-mouth, direct cardiac injection, intravenous medication, electrical defibrillation, and open-chest cardiac massage.
We Can Help
Whatever your situation or healthcare wishes, the estate planning lawyers at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law New Albany, IN can help. We understand the issues and can guide you through the process. We will work closely with you and help you make the best decisions possible. We have efficiently and effectively guided many people through the process of drafting healthcare advance directives, and we look forward to working with you. For skilled and knowledgeable representation, contact us by calling 812-725-8224 or filling out our online form. Based in New Albany, Indiana, we proudly serve communities throughout Kentuckiana; Floyd, Clark and Harrison County, Indiana and Louisville Metro/Jefferson County, Kentucky.