Our Bronx estate attorney says that having an advanced directive related to health care decisions is one of the best ways to be sure that your desires are carried out should you be unable to express those desires. An advanced directive is a written document that is witnessed by others that provides instructions on what you want to be done in regard to your healthcare before any decisions must be made. There are several types of advance directives, but the most common are Designation of a Healthcare Surrogate and a Living Will.
Designation of Healthcare Surrogate
A healthcare surrogate is given the authority to act for you in making decisions related to healthcare should you become incapacitated. Healthcare workers may discuss your condition and possible treatment with the healthcare surrogate. The surrogate may provide informed consent to treatment, both orally and in writing, including consenting to a “Do Not Resuscitate” order whereby extreme measures will not be taken to resuscitate you should you stop breathing or your heart stop beating. The surrogate may receive copies of your health records and may apply for public benefits should they become necessary. In addition, the surrogate may authorize release of your medical records in order to ensure continuity in your healthcare.
In order to name someone as a surrogate, that person must be a competent adult and you must sign the Designation of Healthcare Surrogate document. The document must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and they must not be the person named as surrogate. If you are incapacitated, you may direct someone else to sign your name. One witness must be someone other than a spouse or blood relative.
A Living Will is a legal document that informs medical practitioners and family members what steps you want taken should you become terminal, have a definitively ending condition or fall into a continued vegetative state. A Living Will can describe any procedures you agree to that will prolong your life, procedures you wish to have withheld even if they prolong your life or you may request to have life-prolonging procedures ended if medical staff indicate there can be no improvement in your condition. Without a Living Will, the decision regarding withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging procedures will fall to either a healthcare surrogate or, if no surrogate has been named, a family member, such as a spouse, parent, child or grandchild.
Contact a Bronx Estate Attorney
If you want to be sure your wishes are carried out should you become incapacitated by injury or illness, contact Evan Rogers of the firm of Rogers & Rogers, Esq. today to learn what legal rights you have to confirm your wishes are carried out. You can reach them by phone at 718-994-1640. Make your wishes known by consulting with a trusted Bronx estate attorney today so that your family is not burdened with the decision during a difficult and trying time.