Do you really need a health care directive?

Life is uncertain, and it is impossible to predict what will happen or what your needs will be in the future. It can be worrisome to think about who will care for you in the future and who will make decisions on your behalf, but you have the right and the ability to make these decisions for yourself.

Through a living will and health care directive, you can control what happens to you and outline your preferences in case of mental or physical incapacitation. Not only does this provide peace of mind for you, it can take undue pressure and stress off your Louisiana family and loved ones in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Your body, your choices

A living will and various types of advanced directives allow you to make choices for yourself regarding end-of-life care, emergency care and more. Planning ahead can allow you to decide what kind of treatment you want, including resuscitation orders. Some of the protections you may wish to establish include:

A Living will: This is a written, legal document that outlines the medical treatments that you do or do not want. A living will also address issues such as organ donation and pain management. Through this type of estate planning tool, you can specify your wishes regarding:

  1. Resuscitation
  2. Mechanical ventilation
  3. Tube feeding
  4. Dialysis
  5. Antibiotics
  6. Palliative care
  7. Organ donation

A Medical power of attorney: This type of advance planning allows you to designate a person to make important medical decisions on your behalf. This can be a spouse, family member or trusted member of your religious community. The person who you choose must meet the following requirements:

  1. Meet state requirements
  2. Not be your doctor
  3. Willing and able to discuss end-of-life issues
  4. Be trusted to advocate for you

Considering and discussing end-of-life issues may not be a pleasant thing to talk about, but planning ahead is a worthwhile endeavor, both for you and your family. Having the right plans in place can provide peace of mind and the security to face the future with confidence.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. The documents and protections you need depend on your individual and unique situation, and you will find great benefit in working with an attorney who can help you decide on the right plan for you.

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