Preparing an advanced health care directive is a vital part of incapacity planning. You never know when an unexpected illness or injury will occur and will result in a need for decisions to be made on emergency medical care. If you haven’t made your preferences known and something happens to you, this could put your family members in a very difficult situation. You may also end up receiving care you do not want, or not receiving life-saving care you would have preferred, if you haven’t expressed your wishes while you were still able.
When you create an advanced health care directive, you need to understand how to ensure that your instructions are going to be legally enforceable under the laws in the state of Vermont. You also need to make certain that you have addressed the relevant issues that matter to you as far as getting, or not getting, certain kinds of medical care.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide you with assistance in creating advanced directives for healthcare so you create a comprehensive document that provides expected protections and that your family and your doctors must respect. Give us a call today to find out more.
What Should be Included in Your Advanced Health Care Directive?
Your advanced directive for healthcare should include instructions on whether you do, or do not, want extraordinary measures used to save or prolong your life under specific circumstances. You want your directive to be comprehensive and to address the issues that matter to you.
The Vermont Ethics Network has prepared a sample set of forms that you can use to make your preferences known on medical care in advance. These forms suggest that your advanced health care directive should include:
- The designation of a healthcare proxy or agent: You can name someone who will act on your behalf and who will make decisions that you haven’t addressed in advance. This avoids confusion about who should make your medical choices when you cannot make them.
- Details on when you want life-prolonging measures to be used. For example, you can specify that you always want your life sustained as long as possible, or that you want your life to be sustained only if you will be able to care for yourself; live without pain; be able to communicate; or be conscious and aware of your surroundings.
- Instructions on limitations on treatment, including whether you want CPR, a feeding tube, and/or a breathing machine used to keep you alive.
You should not just take forms you find online and fill them out, even if these forms do provide a roadmap for you. You cannot afford to make mistakes, create an advanced directive that is not enforceable, or leave out essential info from your advanced plans. You should get proper legal advice to make sure these things don’t happen.
Why is it so Important to Have an Advanced Health Care Directive?
It is imperative that you have an advanced health care directive in order to spare your family from having to make painful decisions about the kinds of medical care to administer. You never want your family wondering whether you would have wanted care or faced with the tough choice to withdraw medical tools that are keeping you alive. You also don’t want to cause family fighting if your loved ones disagree about the kinds of care you would have wanted.
By working with an experienced attorney to make an advanced health care directive, everyone from your doctor to your loved ones will know what to do in a medical emergency and there will be no question about what your wishes are. You will spare your loved ones from making impossible choices and you will have control over your own medical destiny.
Getting Help from A Vermont Incapacity Planning Lawyer
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can offer you important guidance as you make your health care directive. We will help to ensure you create a directive that is in compliance with Vermont law and that will be enforceable if questions are raised. We also offer guidance on what to include to make sure you have addressed all of the medical decisions that matter most to you.
To find out more about the ways that healthcare advanced directives fit into your incapacity planning or estate planning, you can download our free estate planning worksheet. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team to learn more. Contact us now so we can work with you to secure your medical autonomy for the future.
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