Types of Advance Directives
As we age, we are faced with decisions about how we want to spend our final days. At any age, a medical condition or emergency could spring up. So, it is a good idea take the time while you are well to determine for yourself how you would like such decisions to be addressed. An advance directive can do that for you. Laying out a plan for your final days can be a comfort to you and a relief to your loved ones to know that your end-of-life decisions have been well considered and properly documented.
An advance directive is a legal document that lays out your wishes regarding end-of-life care. There are two main types of advance directives: a living will and a durable power of attorney for healthcare. A living will lists your healthcare wishes and a durable power of attorney (or healthcare proxy) names a person to make decisions for your care should you become unable to do so yourself.
It is important to note that an advance directive only goes into effect if you are physically or cognitively impaired in a way that prevents you from actively communicating your healthcare needs. Additionally, these plans are only consulted when the scenario involves a terminal illness or a persistent vegetative state.
A living will determines how your final healthcare wishes will be carried out. Your preferences about organ donation can be addressed and a “do not resuscitate” order can be outlined. Your decisions will be impacted by the types of health issues you anticipate. If you have risk factors for cognitive decline or a family history of mental illness, you may choose to draw up a mental health care directive or psychiatric care directive.
Durable Power of Attorney
Naming someone your healthcare proxy gives that person the power to make medical decisions for you. Again, this only goes into effect if your ability to do so yourself is impaired. A proxy can be assigned in place of a living will or as a supplement. A proxy has more flexibility to adjust to unforeseen issues. You may feel more comfortable knowing your chosen advocate understands your values and would make unanticipated choices accordingly.
Documenting Your Advance Directive
You can draw up your own advance directive, but you will have to sign the paperwork in front of the proper witnesses for the document by law to take effect. Though it is not necessary to seek the guidance of an estate planning lawyer, it can be helpful. Laws differ by state, so it is important to make sure your living will complies with the laws in your state.
Brooklyn Elder Law Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Help Navigate Advance Directives
Individuals who are planning for their elder years should seek the help of Brooklyn elder law lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP to make a record of their end-of-life wishes. We can help you draw up a plan to alleviate some of the uncertainty anguished loved ones may experience when faced with difficult choices. We can record your personal intentions to ensure your wishes are followed and your family is confident that they are doing the right thing. Take the first step to discuss your options by completing an online contact form or calling our offices at 212-495-8133. We have offices located in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey and assist clients in Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York, as well as New Jersey.