An Advanced Directive for Health Care, or “Living Will”, is a document that you may prepare now, to direct the type of health care you will want or not want, if you become unable to make your own health care decisions. By preparing the living will, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your health care options. If you ever become unable to communicate your healthcare wishes, the Living Will describes your wishes and names someone to carry them out.
Consider this document carefully. Just because you have a “terminal condition” doesn’t mean that you do not have good years ahead of you. If you were to be hospitalized then, do you still want care to be discontinued? Avoid phrases like, “no extraordinary measures,” and “no heroic efforts:”;the medical professionals assisting you will not know if what they want to proscribe is the same as what you consider to be “extraordinary” or “heroic.” You need to be more specific.
The Attorneys at Shanahan & Voigt are sensitive to your wishes. As President of the Hunterdon County Bar Association, Bob Shanahan facilitated a panel of local doctors and physicians to discuss Advance Directives. Many doctors indicated that they did not like living wills and wanted the bar and the medical society to discuss them. The problem, as it turned out, was that doctors found Advance Directives to be written too generally, not covering the specific issues they were dealing with in the present. After a year of discussions, we came up with a better document which was both legal and, above all, practical in its use.
In preparing each client’s advance directive, we provide a detailed questionnaire to assess individual needs and preferences. To obtain a copy of our questionnaire, please contact us.
For more information: read our Practical Guide to Living Wills.