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Health Care Directives and Living Wills

When it comes to making sure that your wishes are followed in the event that you are incapacitated or are facing an end of life situation, there are two types of legal documents – a Living Will and Health Care Directive, also known as an Advanced Care Directive. 

Living Will

A living will is a limited type of advance directive because the person that you appoint can only make decisions about life sustaining procedures in the event that your death from a terminal condition is imminent despite the application of life sustaining procedures or you are in a persistent vegetative state (permanent unconsciousness). A living will outlines how you want to be cared for and treated when you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself.  It lets you determine and provide instructions in advance about the extent of treatment you want to receive this type of situation.

Health Care Directive

A health care directive gives you more options, such as the naming of the person who will act in your place as your health care agent, or proxy.  This is the person who will be responsible for decisions regarding your medical care.  The Health Care Directive can include the same type of information as a living will regarding how you want to be treated in the event of a terminal condition or a persistent vegetative state.

We at Haas & Zaltz, LLP will fully explain the these documents and help you determine whether to appoint a health care proxy to handle medical decisions when you are not able to do so.