Get the peace of mind you deserve with a living will. The estate law attorneys at Devine Law Offices in Lancaster, PA, are prepared to help you prepare an advance health care directive (living will) that reflects your medical care and end of life decisions. While it’s not a topic many people like to think about, it’s an important document that can make things less stressful when important decisions need to be made.
Living Wills Avoid Lengthy Legal Battles
When an individual is unable to make health-related decisions, there may be disagreements among family members over what that person would have wanted. With a living will, you may be able to avoid such conflicts by making your preferences clear. Without a living will, decisions may end up being made by estranged family members, doctors, or even judges.
Making Decisions When There’s No Urgency to Do So
Oftentimes, there are decisions that will need to be made fairly quickly when a medical emergency occurs or when a patient’s condition unexpectedly worsens. A living will allows you to make those critical decisions at a time when you will be able to clearly weigh your options. Decisions covered by a living will involve:
- Whether or not resuscitate or use a feeding tube
- Circumstances where “extraordinary care” is not preferred
- Authorizations for common medical procedures
- Whether or not to continue life support
Legal Requirements for Living Wills In Pennsylvania
A living will sometimes involves more than one type of document. In Pennsylvania, there are two basic documents you’ll want to consider when making certain medical care decisions in advance.
The first document is a durable healthcare power of attorney in Pennsylvania. This is document names a trusted person to make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so.
Referred to as an “agent,” this person should be someone you trust to keep your best interests in mind and make decisions based on what you would likely want. Under Pennsylvania law, an agent cannot be an attending physician or a healthcare provider, unless they are related to you by blood or through adoption.
The second document is the living will itself. This document outlines your medical treatment decisions. Preparing both documents at the same time allows a trusted person of your choosing to be legally entitled to make decisions on your behalf.
Living Wills Attorney
There is no legal requirement to have an attorney prepare a living will and a related durable healthcare power of attorney. However, there are many reasons to consider making an estate law attorney part of the process.
Standard forms are more general in nature. Attorney-prepared documentation can include additional preferences and stipulations that aren’t easy to include into basic forms.
Additionally, you’ll benefit from being able to get immediate answers to any questions you may have as you contemplate important decisions. Furthermore the attorneys of Devine Law will be able to make sure everything is properly documented and executed with the required signatures.
When Does a Living Will Take Effect?
A living will and durable healthcare power of attorney will take effect in the event that you are physically or mentally unable to make your own medical decisions.
If you’re at a point where you’re ready to make important decisions about your legal options with medical care, we’ll help you explore your options. In addition to preparing a living will, our attorneys can also help revoke or cancel one that’s already in effect if your preferences change. Contact Devine Law today to schedule an appointment.