Though nobody wants to think about potential incapacitation, the truth is, planning for the worst is among the smartest things anyone can do. One of the ways you can do so is by creating an advance healthcare directive. Please continue reading and speak with our knowledgeable Pennsylvania estate planning attorney to learn more about advance healthcare directives and how our firm can help you create one so you can attain the peace of mind you need to move on with your life and focus on what matters most. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What is the purpose of creating an advance healthcare directive?
The main purpose of creating an advance healthcare directive is to give an individual the right to make decisions regarding the medical care he or she is to receive, should that person ever become incapacitated. Advance healthcare directives generally encompass living wills and healthcare powers of attorney. These documents can generally be created separately, though in Pennsylvania they are often combined into a single document.
What is a living will?
When someone creates a living will, they can outline which types of treatments they wish to receive, should they become incapacitated, as well as which treatments they wish to decline. If you create a living will, you will appoint a health care agent to inform doctors to make certain medical decisions in accordance with your wishes. In a living will, for example, you can state whether you wish to receive certain end-of-life medical care, such as ventilators, feeding tubes, and more.
Why should I create a durable healthcare power of attorney?
The purpose of creating a durable healthcare power of attorney is to give someone the right to appoint a trusted individual to make certain healthcare decisions on their behalf, should they ever become incapacitated. Once a treating doctor determines that an individual can no longer make these decisions on his or her own, the agent’s responsibilities towards that individual will take effect.
What is the Pennsylvania Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment?
Many people will establish a Pennsylvania Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) to prepare for a life-threatening or unexpected medical crisis. For a POLST to be valid and legally enforceable, it will have to be signed by a health care provider, the person who creates the document, and that person’s appointed health care agent. This does not replace a living will or a health care power of attorney.
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