Advance directives are valuable forms that can state your wishes in the event that you are unable to do so for medical care and end of life directions. It’s important to take the time to create your living will in case these either of these scenarios become reality. A living will is not what it sounds like, as property and inheritances are not involved. This document is a piece of a bigger puzzle called an estate plan, which when created and maintained properly, can yield major benefits for both your loved ones and your estate. Regardless of your wealth, everyone can benefit from planning their succession wishes. JDKatz is here to help. Our estate lawyers in Maryland are here to provide comprehensive assistance in estate law, creating viable solutions for your unique case. From tax law to criminal litigation services, our law firm is here to try and create the best outcome.
Our estate planning attorneys in Bethesda and D.C. can minimize the stress and financial burdens of managing your estate. Today, we’ll continue to highlight what an advance directive is by highlighting important facts and the value that it can bring when designating your health care agent. When finished, be sure to contact our office today to begin your estate plan.
EMTs Do Not Honor Living Wills
One area that many people do not think about when creating their advance directive is the fact the emergency medical technicians cannot abide by a living will or an individual’s medical power of attorney. This is because EMTs are a first-response force whose first directive is to stabilize citizens with medical needs and transport them to a fully effective hospital for treatment. As such, there is little opportunity to gain information about the patient, and an advance directive is not considered a necessity at this point. Once the patient is at a medical facility and has received treatment and the doctor has determined the issue, a living will can be activated.
Durable Powers of Attorney
One document that is often combined with your living will is called a durable power of attorney (DPOA) for healthcare. This designation allows you to appoint a trusted individual to act as your agent when dealing with your medical directives. Your living will has stated your last wishes for these dealings, and your designated agent will work to oversee that your care is done in accordance with your written documentation. Designating your attorney-in-fact is a big decision, and one that should be done after much consideration. It will also be important to speak with your prospective agent to ensure that he or she is up to the task. Even if this individual is a very close relative, the stress of making major medical decisions on your behalf is no minor role.
What Happens to My Living Will When I Die?
Your advance directive and durable powers of attorney will be invalidated upon your death. Only one piece will remain active, and that section concerns your wishes in regards to autopsies and organ donations. These wishes will be enforced very soon following your passing, in which the advance directive loses power.
The Challenges of Advance Directives
More than a fifth of the deaths in this country take place in a hospital. Sadly, many patients pass away while their families are unsure of their last wishes for treatment. This can often be attributed to a lack of knowing that individuals have the power to create a living will. In other scenarios, individuals may have a valid living will, only to lock it away in private where it cannot be obtained when needed. In addition, it can be very challenging trying to determine the best approach for your health care in case of a serious outcome, such as deciding on pain management options or aggressive treatments that may have a high risk for a high reward. The point we are trying to express here is that creating a living will can be a big task for any adult.
If you are considering enacting an advance directive, or if you are struggling with creating a proper living will, our estate planning attorneys in Bethesda can help. For years, the JDKatz team has worked to deliver the most optimal outcomes for all of our clients. Our experts are experienced in a wide range of industries to provide a comprehensive approach for your needs. Contact us today to learn more about our practice and to speak to our estate lawyers in Maryland.