What To Know About Advance Directives
Health and bodily autonomy are two of the most important aspects of a person’s life, but there may be situations that arise when a person is unable to communicate their decisions about medical treatment to healthcare professionals. In Massachusetts, an advance directive can alleviate concerns and questions about medical care when this information is needed the most, and the experienced Norwood estate planning lawyers at Fisher Law in Boston can ensure that your wishes are abided by in this situation. To learn more about advance directives and other important estate planning documents, talk to our office today.
What is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive, sometimes referred to as a living will or personal directive, is a document that provides specific direction to a health care proxy, family members, and healthcare professionals about the type of medical treatment that you do and do not consent to. Typically, advance directives are utilized when a person becomes incapacitated because of illness or injury. Common examples include serious accidents that result in coma or dementia-like illnesses that eliminate a person’s ability to speak for themselves. Common examples of instructions provided in an advance directive include the following:
- Palliative care options,
- Do Not Resuscitate form,
- Consent to breathing tube,
- Consent to feeding tube,
- Consent for blood transfusions,
- Consent to intravenous medication or nutrition,
- Antibiotics and other medication,
- Hospice care options,
- Organ donation,
- Spiritual end of life decisions, and more.
Advance Directives & Health Care Proxies
An advance directive alone is not recognized as a legal document in Massachusetts, but it is used in conjunction with the appointment of a health care proxy, which is recognized as a decision-making authority under state law. A health care proxy is a person appointed to make medical care choices on behalf of another person when they are unable to communicate those preferences themselves. Without an advance directive, a health care proxy must decide on their own what they think a person would want or what is in their best interest. However, if an advance directive is provided, a health care proxy follows the decisions provided by that document.
In order to appoint a health care proxy, a person must be at least eighteen years old, and sign a document naming a proxy in front of two disinterested witnesses. A health care proxy cannot be a person associated with the treating healthcare facility unless related to the person by blood, marriage, or adoption, nor can the proxy be one of the witnesses that signs the proxy form. To learn more about advance directives and healthcare proxies, talk to our office today.
Call or Contact Fisher Law Today
Creating an advance directive that provides all the information about your medical wishes along with the identification of a health care proxy ensures that your healthcare choices are respected even if you cannot communicate those decisions yourself. If you would like to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer about these documents in the Boston area, call the office or contact us today at Fisher Law to schedule an appointment now.