Advance Directives Attorney
in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho & Los Angeles, California
Depending on your current stage in life, you may have already taken the first steps toward creating an estate plan. For most people, this occurs when they get married, when they start having children, or when they’re nearing retirement. Many people assume the only document they need is a will. However, there are other documents that can be equally or even more important. One of these is an advance directive (also known as a living will).
If you’d like to learn more about this or if you’d just like to speak with a qualified estate planning attorney, reach out to us at Moses Estate Planning, PLLC today. We have locations in both Coeur d'Alene, Idaho & Los Angeles, California, and can help individuals and families throughout Kootenai County.
What Is an Advance Directive (Living Will)?
An advance healthcare directive (or, living will) is a legally binding document that allows you to dictate what kind of medical care you do or do not want should you become incapacitated and no longer able to communicate. This could occur if you suffer from late-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s, if you’re seriously ill, involved in a serious accident, or are in a coma. A living will can cover a wide range of medical topics such as:
Whether to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
Whether to intubate
What kind of palliative care you do or do not want
Whether you want to be put on dialysis
If you want to be an organ or tissue donor after you pass away
If you want to donate your body after you pass away
What kind of life-saving procedures you want performed
What kind of treatment facilities you do or do not want to be in
What kind of medical treatments you do or do not want done to you
Health Care Representative
A key aspect of a living will is that it allows you to appoint a healthcare representative, which may also be referred to as a healthcare proxy or a healthcare attorney in fact. This is an individual who will become your legal representative for making medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. They’ll use your advance directive as a guide, but there will inevitably be issues that come up that are not accounted for in this document. Your proxy will be able to make decisions for you when this happens. This person should be someone whom you trust and who knows you well enough to make choices that you would want. This is often a close family member or friend, but cannot be your primary care provider.
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Directive
Although most advanced directives will include a do not resuscitate (DNR) directive, many estate planning attorneys recommend you file an additional DNR document as well. DNRs can be drawn up when you’re in the hospital as long as you’re deemed to be of sound mind. This document will then be attached to your medical chart and be included even if you’re later transferred to another facility.
POST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)
Similar to a DNR, a physician's orders for life-sustaining treatment (POST) is also a legally binding document that can include more detailed information about what kind of medical treatment you’d like to receive.
Making Modifications to Your Advance Directive
It’s only natural that over the years you may need help modifying an advance directive. Depending on your age and health status when you were first drafting an advance directive, there will likely be several substantial changes in your life that would necessitate a change. This could be the result of a new medical diagnosis (especially one involving a terminal illness), if you’ve married or remarried and need to appoint a new health care representative, or simply enough years have gone by and your views have changed. Many people like to revisit their living will and other estate planning documents every ten years or so to make sure everything is still in line with their priorities and long-term wishes. Whatever the case, you’re always entitled to revise your advance directive, but when you do, you must destroy all previous copies and distribute new copies to your representative and family members.
Advance Directives Attorney in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho & Los Angeles, California
Estate planning isn’t necessarily a complicated task, but it is one that should be taken care of sooner rather than later. By contacting an experienced attorney, you can get started on key documents like an advance directive / living will. Establishing these documents now will ensure your wishes are followed and that your family and loved ones won’t be tasked with making difficult decisions without your direction. For trusted legal help in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho & Los Angeles, California reach out to our team at Moses Estate Planning, PLLC.