A health care directive (or what some refer to as a “living will”) is legally enforceable documentation of an individual’s health care wishes in the event that the individual becomes incapacitated or is otherwise unable to communicate. This document designates the individual(s) who you want to make health care decisions on your behalf and can determine what, if any, end-of-life care you wish to receive. The goal of a health care directive is to eliminate difficult decision making, provide clear documentation of your wishes, and ultimately provide peace of mind and reduce stress for family and friends.
If you do not have a health care directive and a critical health care decision needs to be made, your doctors will look to your closest family members to make decisions for you. This can become complex and stressful if you have multiple children, more than one generation of close family members (e.g. adult children and adult grandchildren), or if your closest family members are unaware of your wishes or unwilling to honor them. Even the closest of families face conflict when deciding on health care matters for a loved one. A decision to pursue or forego end-of-life care is far more difficult to make in the moment of a medical emergency as opposed to in advance. Many people have strong opinions on their health care wishes, but it is critical that these wishes are well-documented to eliminate any confusion or uncertainty.
Contact Blethen Berens to help you create the health care directive you envision.