Advance Directives Explained
Injuries and illnesses happen unexpectedly. They can impact you at any age, even if you are otherwise healthy and regularly visit the doctor or take other steps to protect yourself. When serious health issues occur, it can leave your family in the difficult position of having to make medical decisions on your behalf. Discussing these issues with them before this type of situation occurs and having advance directives in place is a key part of estate planning. In addition to ensuring your wishes are followed, it takes some of the burden off the people you love most.
Medical Issues Addressed Through Advance Directives
Everyone should have advance directives in place in the event of unexpected accidents and illnesses. The New York Department of Health advises that it is particularly important if you are an older adult or have any type of chronic health condition that could require emergency medical treatment. Common types of advance directives include:
- Health Care Power Of Attorney: This authorizes a health care proxy to make important medical decisions on your behalf. This is important in the event you are unconscious, in a coma, or otherwise unable to communicate with doctors, surgeons, or other medical providers involved with your care. Be sure and name an alternate proxy as well, in case the first person is unable to perform this task.
- Living Will: This formally conveys your wishes regarding important medical matters, such as the use of feeding tubes, ventilators, and in the event of your death, organ donation. It provides clear guidance for your health care proxy, as well as for friends and family members.
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order: There may be situations where you do not want health care providers to take extraordinary measures if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating. This can be particularly helpful in protecting your quality of life when medical conditions reach end stages.
Advance directives allow you to remain in charge of your medical care, even in otherwise dire situations. You can address specific matters that are important to you, such as refusing certain treatments or your wishes regarding end of life care in a hospital versus passing away at home.
Putting Advance Directives In Place
In creating advance directives, our estate planning attorneys can outline all the details you may want to include in these documents. It is also important to discuss these matters with your family or friends, verbally conveying your desires and letting them know you are putting advance directives in place.
If you are currently experiencing health problems or suffer from a chronic medical condition, the National Institute on Aging advises talking to your doctor regarding the eventual outcome and the types of care you may require in the future.
Contact Us Today for Help
At Cavallo & Cavallo, we provide trusted legal guidance regarding documents you need to have in place to protect yourself and your loved ones. Call or contact our Bronx & New Rochelle estate planning attorneys to schedule a consultation in our office today.