An Advance Health Care Directive, also known as a living will, is a document that expresses a person’s desires and preferences about medical treatment in the case he or she becomes incapacitated and therefore unable to communicate these instructions. An Advance Health Care Directive includes an individual’s preference for health care treatments such as feeding tubes, resuscitation, organ donation, artificial life support, and other advanced medical techniques. 

It is a common misconception that an Advance Health Care Directive only directs health care providers to withhold treatment. While an Advance Health Care Directive may issue that type of instruction, it also allows an individual to ask for all available treatment options and medical techniques, or choose some medical options and reject others. Because an Advance Health Care Directive often involves complicated medical issues, consultation with a doctor may clarify different treatment types and assist someone in making decisions for their living will. 

An Advance Health Care Directive becomes effective when your primary physician decides that you can no longer make your own healthcare decisions. If you are ill or injured and cannot express your healthcare wishes, and your doctor certifies this fact in writing, your living will takes effect.

Decisions relating to health care and incapacity should be carefully considered. Advance Health Care Directives are allowed in all states; however, there are certain nuances that must be considered that are specific to the state you live in. Contact our experienced attorneys at Hillyard, Anderson, Olsen with any questions you may have regarding an Advance Health Care Directive. They can help prepare the documents that will ensure that your wishes are understood and enforced if you become unable to communicate them for yourself. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 435-752-2610.