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Plan for health care decisions today

Planning for health care decisions for you and your family is an important part of any estate plan. These forms are provided as-is, as a public service of our firm. They have been prepared by the named party, and are not intended as specific legal advice but as a general discussion of the law and options available. If you have specific questions as to how these documents relate to you, please contact your attorney or schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.

Advance Directives

All adults in Maryland, DC, and Virginia have a right to prepare legally binding documents referred to as “Advance Directives”. These documents are also referred to as Medical Power of Attorney and/or Living Wills. Execution of these documents allows you to put your wishes regarding access to medical records, choices for medical care, and decisions related to terminal medical conditions in writing. Each of these documents allows you to express what type of medical care you do and do not want in the event you are unable to express your wishes on your own.

There are two kinds of Advance Directives– Health Care Powers of Attorney (Appointment of Agent) and Written Healthcare Directive (Living Will).

Appointment of an Agent

This document permits you to select and authorize a spouse, child, or friend, to be your “agent” or “proxy” to make decisions for you. You can select when that decision making takes effect if you become incapable of making informed healthcare decisions for yourself. You can also specifically tell your agent what kinds of care you do and do not want. This authorization is, in legal terms, often called a “Power of Attorney for Healthcare.”

Written Healthcare Directive

You may also state what kinds of healthcare you want or do not want if you are determined to be unable to express your own wishes in instances of serious medical conditions. These instructions are often referred to as a “living will.”

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Once you have printed and signed the form, you should make copies and provide a copy to your doctor, bring one when you go to the hospital, and give copies to your family and friends. These documents do NOT require a notary, but should be witnessed by two individuals who are not related to you and do not work for a medical provider or hospital.

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