Health Care Directives

Health Care Directives

Health Care Directives, the important first step in Estate Planning

The first, and most important part of anyone’s estate, is you. Your body and your mind.

What you will do with your body if you are alive and cannot make decisions for yourself is some of the most important Estate Planning, and should be completed by everyone.

To protect yourself if you cannot make your own medical and financial decisions, we craft a Health Care Directive to your specifications.

What Health Care Directives can do for you.

Health Care Directives provide guidance to someone you would trust to be a Health Care Agent. If you are not able to speak for yourself regarding medical decisions, a Health Care Directive empowers your Agent to carry out your wishes regarding your medical care. This includes:

  • What medical treatment you do and do not want depending on your medical prognosis.
  • Provides your Health Care Agent access to your medical records.
  • Decides whether or not to donate your bodily organs.
  • Detail how you want your body handled after death, whether burial or cremation.
  • Specifies your wishes for a funeral or celebration of life

Tricks and Traps for Health Care Directives

I maintain a copy of Health Care Directives for clients so Health Care Agents can contact us if your original Health Care Directive cannot be found.

We encourage our clients to provide their Health Care Directives to all potential Health Care Agents they select, as well as to their primary medical physicians. It is good for all involved to be prepared in case the stress of a medical incident happens.

For a Health Care Directive to be valid, it must be drafted while you have mental capacity, and it must be signed and formally attested by you before a Notary Public, or signed by you in front of two witnesses who are not your Health Care Agent.

Many times when you are admitted to a medical facility, even for outpatient surgery, you will be asked if you have a Health Care Directive. Even if you have a Health Care Directive, many medical facilities will offer you to fill out their boilerplate Health Care Directive.

Note that the Health Care Directive that is the last in time will control. If you have a Health Care Directive and want it to control, you should absolutely decline the offer of the medical facility for a new Health Care Directive.