Advanced Directives and Power of Attorney
Make Your Wishes Known with a Medical or Statutory Power of Attorney
Advanced Directives are legal documents that communicate your wishes to your loved ones and health care professionals should you become incapacitated by injury or illness. Living Wills and Powers of Attorney are types of Advanced Directives.
Everyone should have these documents. Even if you are young and healthy, an accident or illness can make it impossible for you to tell doctors or family members what kind of medical care you want – or do not want – to receive. An Advanced Directive can better ensure that your wishes will be honored and spares your family the anguish of having to make difficult end-of-life decisions without knowing your intent.
Discussing end-of-life matters can be unsettling to many people, but our estate planning attorneys will guide you through the estate planning process, helping you understand alternatives and answering all your questions.
Medical Power of Attorney
A Medical Power of Attorney gives the person you name as your agent the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf in accordance with your wishes, including your religious and moral beliefs, when you are no longer capable of making them yourself. The Medical Power of Attorney is only effective in the event you are not capable of making such decisions.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) regulates the use and disclosure of personal medical information. Although a Medical Power of Attorney should allow your agent to review and discuss your personal health information, it is only effective in the event you are incapacitated. Often times, it is beneficial to be able to discuss medical information of a spouse, child or parent with a doctor, hospital or insurance company, even when the person is not incapacitated. In those instances, it is important to have a HIPAA Release that will allow the easy flow of communication.
Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
A Statutory Durable Power of Attorney authorizes another person to make legal or financial decisions on your behalf. The instrument may be general or limited in scope. For example, a Power of Attorney may assign decision-making authority for a specific, one-time event — such as a single real estate or business transaction — or it may cover all parenting decisions, financial transactions or medical matters. You can direct a Power of Attorney to go into effect immediately or only in the event that you become incapacitated.
The Texas Durable Power of Attorney Act provides strict requirements for execution of the document. However, the provisions you are permitted to include in the document are relatively flexible, depending upon your individual needs and circumstances.
A Living Will specifies the types of medical treatment you authorize should you be unable to communicate with your healthcare providers. Basically, a Living Will gives or withholds consent ahead of time for life-sustaining and end-of-life decisions, such as whether medical providers should:
- Use life-sustaining equipment — including dialysis, respirators and ventilators
- Follow Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders regarding CPR
- Apply artificial means of hydration and nutrition
- Withhold liquids and foods
- Enable organ and tissue donations
The Texas Advanced Directive Act of 1999 governs execution of this important document. However, as with your Power of Attorney, you are able to create a Living Will that aligns with your own faith and values.
What You Need to Know About Advanced Directives in Texas
We will be able to answer all your questions regarding:
- How to choose an agent you trust to comply with your instructions. Your agent may be a family member, but sometimes a close friend is a more appropriate choice.
- Storing Advanced Directives in a safe and accessible place, and notifying key people about where you have stored the documents.
- Expiration of Advanced Directives (unless your document specifies an expiration date, your Advanced Directives remains valid).
- Changing Advanced Directives if you choose to revise or revoke authority.
Ensure Your Decisions are Honored and Your Assets are Protected
Talk to an experienced and dedicated estate planning lawyer at Albin Oldner Law, PLLC. We serve clients in McKinney, Celina, Allen and communities throughout Denton County