A health care directive is really two different documents: it is (1) a health care proxy wherein you elect a health care agent, and (2) a living will where you give your instructions on what you want to happen to you if you become incapacitated. It is a separate document from a will.
What is included in a health care directive?
A living will is not merely a “when to pull the plug” directive. It can actually contain a lot of vital, important information, including, for example:
- Designation of the agent who will ultimately make decisions for you when you are unable.
- How you want to spend your last days (e.g., in a hospital, at home, etc.).
- What medications you do not want (e.g., no addictive narcotics).
- Where you want to die.
- Limitations to the powers of your health care agent.
- Identify religious beliefs and practices.
- Identify your values, fears, philosophies, and desires related to your health.
- How you want your health to not affect your family.
- Identify the things that would make you prefer that care focus on making you comfortable rather than extending your life.
Generic health care directives are a dime a dozen online. And they can be worth even less than that if not drafted carefully. Generic directives may not identify all of your needs. If improperly drafted, key parts of the document may be invalid. And, if the directive is not HIPAA compliant, then it may not be worth the paper it is written on.
Signature Law conducted a 50 state survey of what every state in America is requiring for their health care directives. Using this information, we developed what we believe is to be one of the most comprehensive health care directives in Minnesota. For example, we include as part of the health care directive an Advance Mental Health Care Directive, vitally important for our growing population of individuals with mental health problems or who will develop dementia.
Everyone should have a valid health care directive. Many health care directives – be they from doctors' offices, the Secretary of State, found online, or from other attorneys – are overly simplistic and don't include important provisions. Signature Law is dedicated to drafting a comprehensive health care directive that addresses your wants and needs. If you wish to discuss your living will and the best way to include one in your estate plan, then please contact us for a free consultation.Schedule a Free Consultation