Advance Directive/Living Will Lawyer
Getting the Care You Want in Critical Situations
What would happen if you were in an accident that put you in a coma? Or if an illness or brain damage left you unconscious for an extended period of time? Your family might not know what kind of treatment you would want, or they might not agree about what should happen.
Violent arguments could erupt, delaying your care. Even worse, your loved ones might be powerless to make any decisions to help you. They might not even be allowed to talk to doctors about your treatment.
No one wants to think about a future where they are critically ill or in a vegetative state, but it does happen. We’ve all heard about the lawsuits, as families fight with each other or try to force doctors to take specific actions. The uncertainty, delays in care, and legal problems all stem from the fact that the person needing care cannot speak for themselves. They are not able to explain their wishes and authorize or decline their own treatment options.
We Know How to Help
At Huizenga Law, elder law and planning for the future form the core of our practice. We help protect people in a wide range of ways. When medical emergencies strike, we can enable you to be prepared with the right authorization and directives so you can get the care you want in the most critical situations.
We give you a voice at a time when you are unable to speak for yourself.
Avoiding Uncertainty and Delays
You should have control over what happens to you when you suffer from a serious medical condition. We can prepare advance directives that:
- Explain your choices for medical treatment in detail if you are unable to communicate
- Authorize doctors to provide or withhold life-prolonging measures if you are not expected to recover
- Allow a loved one to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated
- Describe your wishes for medical care in specific situations
- Enable you to remain in control of your medical care if you are not able to communicate
When your loved ones know what you would want and doctors are authorized to follow your instructions, you prevent uncertainty and avoid delays in receiving treatment. You can also spare your family the agony of trying to determine what to do, because you are telling them in advance.
What is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive is a legal document in which you describe your treatment preferences or authorize someone to make medical decisions for you. There are two types of advance directives commonly used in Iowa—a living will and a health care power of attorney.
Huizenga Law can prepare a living will in which you inform doctors about the types of life-sustaining procedures you would or would not want to receive in various situations. A life-sustaining procedure is a treatment using artificial means to keep you alive longer when you are terminally ill. For instance, if you were in the final stages of cancer and unconscious, you might specify that you would not wish to receive artificial feeding.
A health care power of attorney document gives the person you choose authority to act as your agent and make medical decisions on your behalf if you are not able to make or communicate decisions on your own. It is very helpful for your agent if you have also prepared a living will. That way they do not have to agonize over care decisions in an end-of-life situation.
Working Together to Protect You
Huizenga Law works with you to create the right living will and health care power of attorney for your specific needs. Then there are some steps you need to take to help ensure you receive the full benefit of these important documents. Although a living will is very different from a traditional will, it is an equally important part of your estate plan, and it deserves careful management and protection. Original documents should be stored in a secure, fireproof location with other important documents.
In addition, your loved ones and your doctors need to have access to both your living will and your health care power of attorney, so they can act on these documents at the appropriate time. Make copies to give to your family members, your primary care physician, and the person named as your health care agent. If you are admitted to the hospital, bring copies with you or have a loved one submit a copy.
Get the Advance Directives You Need from Huizenga Law
It is not pleasant to think about end-of-life situations. But it is far worse to see the agony family members experience when an emergency catches someone unprepared. A living will and health care power of attorney cannot cure ailments, but they do allow loved ones to assist and they provide guidance when making painful decisions. To protect yourself and your family, schedule a consultation with Huizenga Law to get the advance directives you need.