An Advance Directive allows you to dictate the kinds of treatments you do and do not want at the end of your life. It comprises documents such as a health care proxy (or health care power of attorney) and living will.
As you prepare your estate plan, you might wonder exactly what you should include in your advance directives. Here is some information from an estate planning attorney about the kinds of considerations often included in those documents:
Life-support treatment: Not all people want every type of treatment that could prolong their life. You can specify which Types Of Treatment you do or do not want, including medical devices like ventilators or tube feeders that aid specific body functions, as well as blood transfusions, various types of surgeries, dialysis, and antibiotics.
Healthcare proxy: You should decide who you wish to have the power to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This person is your Health Care Proxy. Usually, people will choose their spouse, or a trusted relative or friend. However, you can also select a third party such as an attorney or advisor. In addition, you should name a successor health care proxy who would fill the role if your primary proxy is either dead or unavailable. This ensures you have a backup plan and that you’ll at least have someone capable of honoring your wishes.
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders: You should decide if you want a DNR order in your advance directives and Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST). A MOLST is a separate document from your living will, even if your living will already state you do not wish to have life-support treatments at the end of your life. A MOLST form may or may not include a DNR instruction. A DNR tells a doctor and other medical providers not to revive you if your heart or breathing stops. You will need to meet with your doctor and have him or her fill out a MOLST form for you with or without DNR instructions. You should then share that form with your primary care physician, your health care proxy and any caregivers who will be managing your care in a hospital setting.
Organ donor: Include your organ donor status in your advance directives, even if you already have an organ donor sticker on your driver’s license. Indicate whether or not you wish to donate your organs, and get registered with your state.
Other information to complete the paperwork: Once you have addressed these basic contents of your advance directives, there are some other considerations you’ll need to take into account. For example, you must have at least two adult witnesses sign the form and have that form notarized.
For more information about what you should include in your advance directives, contact an experienced estate planning attorney at Baker Law Group, P.C.