If you are wondering whether a loved one can make certain life-altering decisions for you in the future, you might want to explore the options for advance directives. At Sobon Law LLC, I aim to guide and educate families on the legal tools they have for planning for their future. Advance directives are one option to prepare for an uncertain future if you are in an end-of-life situation. While such topics are often difficult to discuss, I, Attorney Patrycja, will work patiently with you to help you reach a favorable plan. The future can be scary to think about, but it is better to safeguard it while you can.
What Are Advance Directives?
Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to record your wishes for certain end-of-life decisions ahead of time. In the directive, you can state terms for your family, friends, and healthcare professionals to abide by relating to the end-of-life medical scenarios. There are several types of advance directives, the most common of which are the living will and the durable power of attorney for healthcare.
What Can a Living Will Do?
A living will is a legal document that can state certain future healthcare decisions if you become unable to make the decisions and choices yourself. Living wills are only used in end-of-life scenarios when a person is terminally ill or permanently unconscious. You can revoke or terminate a living will at any time while you are mentally competent.
Some examples of what a living will can dictate are:
- the type of medical treatment you would or wouldn’t want in such a situation;
- under what conditions an attempt to prolong life should be started or stopped;
- treatments like dialysis, tube feeding, life support (e.g., through breathing machines)
- whether to use do not resuscitate orders (instructions not to use CPR if breathing or heartbeat stops);
- whether you want treatment for pain, nausea, or other symptoms (also called comfort care or palliative care);
- if you wish to donate your organs or other body tissues after death.
Note that before your healthcare team will use your living will to guide medical decisions, two certified physicians must confirm that you are unable to make your own medical decisions and are in a medical condition that is specified by state law as a terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness.
Schedule an initial consultation with Sobon Law LLC online to get started today. Serving Northeast Ohio.
What Can a Medical Power of Attorney Do?
A medical power of attorney (POA), or a durable power of attorney for healthcare, functions similarly as a legal document in which you name an agent to make certain healthcare decisions if you become unable to do so. As with a living will, a physician must certify that you are unable to make your own medical decisions before using the POA.
If you become unable to make your own healthcare decisions, such as if you’ve incurred a serious illness affecting your mental capacity, your agent will speak with your healthcare team and other caregivers on your behalf and make decisions according to the wishes or directions you established in the POA. If you did not provide specific wishes, your agent has the authority to make a decision based on what they think you would want. Note that if you regain the ability to make your own medical decisions, your agent cannot continue to make medical decisions on your behalf.
It is advisable to name a backup agent in case your first choice is unavailable or unwilling to act on your behalf.
Advance directives can prove essential to your future wellbeing. When you are in a state of unconsciousness or illness, having a predetermined plan for your medical care and treatment in the form of an advance directive can make a huge difference – both for you and your loved ones looking after you. Sobon Law LLC handles these matters delicately and will communicate patiently and professionally with you about creating advance directives for your future. I, Attorney Patrycja, understand these are sensitive discussions, but they are nonetheless important plans to make in anticipation of the unexpected.
It’s never too early to think about advance directives for your future. Schedule an initial consultation with Sobon Law LLC to discuss your legal options. Polish-speaking services available.
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