According to a 2018 study by Merrill in partnership with Age Wave, about 41% of American adults aged 55 and up have an advance healthcare directive. An advance directive allows you to appoint another person as your healthcare proxy to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. This allows you to plan ahead and get your preferred medical care in the event that you ever become incapacitated or severely ill.
If you need assistance drawing up an advance directive or estate plan, you should consult with an experienced California estate planning attorney for reliable guidance. For over 40 years, Attorney John L. Shaw has been helping individuals and families plan for their future. He is available to discuss your unique situation and help you understand all of your legal options. As your legal counsel, Attorney John L. Shaw will guide you through the process of outlining an estate planning and creating an advance directive so that you can have a plan for your future.
John L. Shaw, Attorney at Law is proud to serve clients across Temple City, California, and the surrounding areas of Pasadena, Arcadia, Rosemead, and Alhambra — so call or reach out today to schedule your own case consultation.
An advance directive can be described as a legal document that allows a person (the principal) to appoint a healthcare proxy or agent who can provide specific instructions regarding their preferred medical care, should they ever become seriously ill or incapacitated. In the event that you're unable to make healthcare decisions by yourself, an advance care directive will guide doctors and caregivers and make your exact wishes known regarding any treatment decisions during any unexpected end-of-life situations.
An advance care directive enables you to make the following healthcare decisions:
State the kind of medical treatments you want and do not want
State your goals, values, and preferences regarding medical care and treatments
Appoint a trusted person to act as your healthcare agent or proxy
Provide specific instructions about medical procedures and healthcare treatments such as dialysis, artificial nutrition, hydration, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
Choose the medical facility or hospital where you want to receive treatment
Determine whether you want to donate your organs, tissues, eyes, and brain
Specify your funeral and burial arrangements
A healthcare representative, also referred to as a healthcare agent or proxy, is a person of your choosing who acts on your behalf in healthcare matters. Using your advance healthcare directive, your healthcare representative will have everything they need to make crucial health decisions on your behalf, should you ever become seriously ill or incapacitated.
You can appoint essentially any adult to be your healthcare agent. You may choose a family member, such as your spouse, adult child, friend, close relative, or another person you trust. Also, you may appoint one or more "alternate healthcare agents" if the person you choose as your health care agent is unavailable, unable, or unwilling to act. Above all, it is important that you inform the person that you intend to appoint to make sure they know about your true wishes and are willing to accept such a responsibility.
There are a number of different duties and responsibilities that the healthcare agent will be responsible for. Those duties and responsibilities include:
Understanding your exact wishes long before you become seriously ill or incapacitated
Understanding your potential medical care treatment options and preferences
Make medical decisions on your behalf based on your exact wishes and best interests
Consult with your doctor, nurse, and other medical professionals
Approve or refuse medical treatments, tests, or examinations that align with your wishes
Review your medical chart
Schedule appointments and request second opinions
Approve your transfer to another hospital or medical institution, if necessary
Make life-support decisions on your behalf
It is understandable that your preferences may change over time. This is why it is advisable that you review your healthcare directives and estate plan every so often to ensure that the terms still align with your current wishes. You can revoke or change your advance healthcare directive at any time with the help of an experienced attorney. To make modifications, here's what to do:
Inform your doctor or healthcare provider personally or in writing.
Notify every person or medical facility that you have revoked or modified your advance directive
Complete and sign a new form
Inform the required parties
Tear up or destroy the old copy
Getting your affairs in order involves preparing your legacy and creating a strategic end-of-life plan. Should you become unable to communicate your exact wishes about your healthcare preferences, having a healthcare agent in place ensures that you will receive your desired medical treatments and avoid any unnecessary suffering. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can evaluate your unique needs and help you make informed decisions every step of the way.
Attorney John L. Shaw has spent decades providing comprehensive legal guidance to clients in all legal matters of estate planning, including wills, trusts, advance directives, and powers of attorney. As your legal counsel, he can review your personal situation, explore all of your legal options, and help you create a personalized plan for end-of-life care.
Attorney John L. Shaw will outline a personalized plan that fits your unique needs and answer all of your questions along the way. So if you or someone you know is interested in learning more about an advance healthcare directive or estate plan, call or reach out to John L. Shaw, Attorney at Law to schedule a case consultation.
Advance directives aren't only for seniors and older adults. If you or your family member is considering drawing up an advance directive as part of a comprehensive estate plan, contact John L. Shaw, Attorney at Law, today to schedule a consultation. He can offer you the comprehensive legal guidance you need to navigate important decisions. Attorney John L. Shaw proudly serves clients across Temple City, Pasadena, Arcadia, Rosemead, and Alhambra, California, so call now to schedule a consultation!