What Is an Advanced Healthcare Directive?

An advanced healthcare directive (AHCD) is a legal document that outlines your wishes concerning your medical care if you are unconscious or incapacitated because of an illness or accident. If you have drafted an advanced healthcare directive, your family members and medical staff are legally bound and must adhere to the instructions you included in the document.

You can include a wide variety of medical decisions, special actions, and instructions in AHCDs, including but not limited to:

  • Whether you want extraordinary measures to take if your heart stops
  • Whether you want to be placed on a ventilator or have feeding tubes
  • Whether you want to receive treatment and/or pain medications
  • What medical procedures or surgeries you will not permit
  • Which family members and friends are permitted in your hospital room
  • Whether you wish to donate organs or tissues
  • Details concerning your funeral arrangements

You will have to appoint a person to have a durable power of attorney for healthcare who will carry out your instructions. You should choose someone you trust, and they should be a person who understands your values and beliefs. If possible, you should make the person aware that you have named them as the agent of your advanced healthcare directive.

Can Family Override Advance Healthcare Directives?

An advanced healthcare directive is a legally binding document. Even if they disagree with your wishes, your family cannot override your authority, and you have the right to make decisions about your treatment and care. It is important to note that you can override your previous decisions, though, and you can allow your representative (or the person given the power of attorney to change the terms of your AHC in certain circumstances.

For instance, if a patient with an AHCD wakes up from a coma, they can change their wishes concerning their treatment, and they can revoke their advanced directive at any time as long as they are capable of making decisions. Thus, if you initially wish to be placed on a respirator but no longer wish that, you can change your mind once you’ve recovered.

Get Legal Help

The estate planning attorneys at Creative Family Solutions, Cianci Law, PC are equipped to help you draft an AHCD. We are committed to helping our clients ensure their healthcare wishes are honored and that their families are provided for.

Once you retain our services, we can help you develop a personalized advanced healthcare directive and understand what you can and should include in the document, such as whether you want to donate organs, whether you want to be placed on a respirator, which family members and friends you want to be allowed as visitors, and other important details.

While it can be daunting to think about the future, especially the grimmer aspects of the future, it is very important to complete your estate plan. Advanced healthcare directives are an important party of everyone’s estate plan. Regardless of your current health and age, you should outline what your wishes are. Accidents can happen at any time, and your family and doctors would like to honor your wishes; however, they can only do so if they know what they are.

To schedule a case consultation, contact our team online or call (916) 797-1575

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