Advance Directive/Living Will Lawyer

We aim to protect your family’s full range of interests at Huizenga Law, and that includes health care concerns. A well-rounded estate plan should include documents that cover medical decisions as well as financial matters.

Our team prepares living wills and other advance directives designed to ensure that if you are unable to communicate your wishes for treatment, doctors will still provide the type of care you would want.

A Living Will is Nothing Like a Traditional Will

The type of will most people think of directs the disposition of your property when you pass away. A living will confuses many people because it concerns what happens during your life, and it doesn’t involve property at all. Under Iowa law, this document is officially known as a “Declaration Relating to Use of Life-Sustaining Procedures.”

In your living will, you describe the types of life-sustaining treatment you would want to receive if you are suffering from a terminal condition and are in a coma or other condition that prevents you from communicating your wishes. You can specify whether or not you would want particular mechanical or artificial means used to maintain body functions when you are not expected to recover. For instance, your living will might inform doctors that you would want artificial hydration but not artificial nutrition to prolong your life.

Understanding Advance Directives

A living will is one type of advance directive. These documents allow you to take steps ahead of time to direct your medical treatment in case you are incapacitated. If you never become incapacitated, the advance directives remain dormant and you make and communicate all your own care decisions.

Together with a living will, the team at Huizenga Law usually prepares a health care power of attorney. The living will gives your instructions, and the power of attorney document authorizes a loved one to make medical decisions for you if you cannot do so on your own. When you have a living will in place, the person making decisions on your behalf understands your choices for care, and that enables them to make decisions with confidence. However, in Iowa, the terms of your living will are enforceable even without a power of attorney.

You can change or revoke your advance directives as long as you remain legally competent.

What to Do with Advance Directives

When your attorney prepares a living will and health care power of attorney, these documents carry legal weight. However, they cannot be used if no one knows about them.

It is a good idea to make copies and give them to:

  • Your primary care physician
  • Close family members
  • The person you named in your health care power of attorney
  • The hospital any time you are admitted

You should keep copies with your other estate planning documents such as your will or trust.

Help with Living Wills and Other Advance Directives

No one wants to think about illness, incapacity, or end-of life decisions, but when these situations catch families unprepared, the indecision they endure is heartbreaking. When you work with the team at Huizenga Law to prepare your living will and other advance directives, you can feel at peace knowing that you have spared your loved ones uncertainty and confusion in the future. If you have questions or want to get started, contact us today.