Advance Health Care Planning
What are advance directives?
An advance directive is a written document that you make while you are mentally competent that states how you want your health care decisions to be made if you become incapacitated or cannot express your wishes. Advance directives guide your physician and other health care professionals, and relieve your family from the burden of guessing what types of care and treatment you would want to receive. This is a legal document, but it is also highly personal as it addresses many end-of-life decisions. You may be best served to also seek the wisdom of your doctor, your family, and your pastor, priest or rabbi.
Alabama law provides a form entitled “Advanced Directive for Health Care.” This statutory form includes sections on (1) “Living Will” and (2) “Health Care Proxy.” The “Living Will” section authorizes withholding or withdrawing certain treatments in the event the individual is terminally ill or injured or permanently unconscious. The “Health Care Proxy” section allows you to appoint someone to enforce your decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment and feeding tubes.
Your Advanced Directive for Health Care can be drafted to include specific instructions to cover all types of health decisions, not just those concerning life-sustaining treatment. Specific instructions may address the use of blood transfusions, feeding tubes, artificial respiration, kidney dialysis, major surgery, etc. This is a very complex document and you should seek the assistance of an attorney to effectively draft and properly execute this document.
If you or a loved one has any questions about Advance Health Care Planning, please call your hometown law office of Townes & Woods, P.C. at 631-4019.