Advanced Healthcare Directives in Pennsylvania

There are various aspects of a comprehensive estate plan, and creating an advance healthcare directive is one of them. These legal documents declare what medical decisions you would like made on your behalf upon incapacitation. These frequently include both living wills and healthcare powers of attorney. Though these documents are separate, they are often combined into one legal document. Please read on and reach out to our experienced Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys to learn more about advanced healthcare directives. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What is a living will?

Creating a living will lets you decide whether you’d like to accept or forego certain medical treatments if you become incapacitated. A living will gives an appointed health care agent authority to directly tell your treating physicians or caregivers whether you would prefer life-prolonging treatments or not. Some examples of these treatments include feeding tubes, ventilators, and more. Of course, this a very sensitive topic, which is why you must appoint someone you can trust to carry out your wishes as you would have intended.

Why do I need to get a durable healthcare power of attorney?

A durable health care power of attorney is a legal document that gives an appointed individual authority to make healthcare decisions on their behalf. The appointed person is known as an agent, and their responsibility to the incapacitated person either begins immediately or when a treating doctor determines that person can no longer make those decisions themselves.

What is a Pennsylvania Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment?

If you are facing a life-threatening medical condition, you can create a Pennsylvania Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). These documents can direct other life-sustaining measures on top of existing lifesaving methods, such as CPR. That being said, for a POLST to be valid and legally enforceable, it must first be signed by a health care provider, the individual, and the health care agent appointed by the individual. This document does not replace a living will or a health care power of attorney, however, it can be very useful to have in place.

If you have any additional questions regarding living wills, healthcare powers of attorney, or estate planning in general, we are here to help. Our experienced Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys have been helping individuals reach peace of mind for years, and we are ready to do the same for you. Give us a call today.


Friedman Schuman is an experienced and dedicated legal resource for clients throughout Pennsylvania. We proudly serve clients facing a wide range of legal matters. If you require the services of an effective attorney, please contact Friedman Schuman today to schedule a consultation.

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