With regard to wills and trusts, lawyers, CPAs, insurance advisors, and, of course, you put a considerable effort into the language and the protection of beneficiaries. Too often, what goes under reviewed are end-of-life documents, namely, the Living Will, the Health Care Power of Attorney, and Authorization for Disclosure of Health Information.
A medical directive and proxy relies on several considerations:
The appropriate agent: An agent who knows and clearly understands your goals and wishes. That leads to discussions with your agent whenever you create the document and thereafter. Many individuals select their spouse and a child, while others select a committee. But many individuals fail to understand the implications.
For example, suppose you state within your document, “I do not want antibiotics or transfusions.” Is that enough? No. What happens if an antibiotic or transfusion would save your life? Should your agent supersede your directive? Black and white medical decisions are not what is needed.
Then should you look for a medical advisor or someone in the family that has the appropriate medical credentials. Again, the answer is no – rather consider lengthy discussions with your agent.
Now that you have an appropriate agent, you need a backup. Why? What happens if your agent is out of town, or otherwise unavailable? Then your physician will need to turn to your backup.
And it goes without saying, but you should list the contact information in the document. If time is of the essence, then the physician or hospital will need the telephone and cell numbers of your agent. Simple? Yes, but many individuals overlook this step.
You should keep the document up to date. And if you give it to your medical professional, make sure that you keep it up to date.
And, by the way, a committee is probably not the best alternative. Individuals have varying opinions, and that leads to confusion.
If you would like more information about Pennsylvania Elder Law, Business Law or Tax Law, please contact an experienced Pennsylvania Attorney is who is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) via email or phone us at (724) 216.6551 at our Greensburg, Pennsylvania office.
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