It is a common, and unfortunate, belief that Health Care Directives are only necessary for sick, dying, or senior individuals. However, young people arguably have more at stake. Young adults who suffer a serious illness or accident could be kept alive, but in a vegetative or incapacitated state, for decades. In fact, many of the highest profile “right to die” cases arose from experiences of young people. Terri Schiavo was only 27 years old when she suffered brain damage that left her in a persistent vegetative state.
Illness, disease and accidents are unpredictable and sometimes unpreventable. You simply cannot know what will happen in the future, but you can plan for the worst case scenario. A Health Care Directive is a way to plan for what will happen in certain situations regarding the health care and medical procedures that you receive.
Taking the time to execute a Health Care Directive allows you to voice the health care you wish to receive, at a time that you may not have a voice. If you know that you do not wish to remain on life support when there is little to no chance you will ever survive without it, you can state that clearly in a Health Care Directive. In the adverse, if you wish to remain on life support as long as possible, you can state that in your Health Care Directive. Without your wishes in writing, others may not know what your wishes are, or may not follow them.
Further, you are able to appoint an agent through your Health Care Directive. You can appoint alternative agents, in case one is unavailable, or joint agents that make decisions together. By appointing an agent, you are able to choose who will make necessary health care decision for you in times that it is needed. This ensures that someone you trust, and have discussed your wishes with, makes your decisions. There may be individuals in your life who you would not want to make health care decisions for you, or who you do not think would be capable of making such decisions. Perhaps you do not trust these individuals, or perhaps they are simply emotionally driven in their decision making. A Health Care Directive ensures those individuals will not end up in a position that they are making what could be life or death decisions for you.
It is important to note that without a Health Care Directive naming an authorized agent to make your health care decisions, those close to you could end up having to go through the courts to have a guardian appointed. Guardianship proceedings can be extremely expensive, costing thousands of dollars in court costs and legal fees. It can also be a stressful and confusing process for the individuals going through it. The time and financial investment that it takes to complete a Health Care Directive is minimal in comparison to a guardianship proceeding.
Protect Your Loved Ones.
By putting your wishes in a Health Care Directive, you help your agent(s) and loved ones make important health care decisions for you. Sometimes decisions that must be made are not easy ones – they may be whether or not to keep an individual on life support or to let them die. Not only are these decisions difficult and highly emotional, but there is a chance that such decisions can affect an individual for years to come. Someone making that decision for you may experience guilt, or wonder if they made the right choice. By having your wishes accessible, they can know what you want and be more at peace with any decision they must make in line with your wishes.
A Health Care Directive can also be drafted with the goal in mind of preventing a situation where you may become burden on their loved ones. For younger individuals, certain health care decisions following an accident or illness could lead to them being alive on life support, or in a vegetative state, for years – during which his or her family and loved ones are responsible for their care. For individuals who want to prevent this scenario, it is important to execute a Health Care Directive.
Schromen Law, LLC assists individuals in completing Health Care Directives. While it is certainly not an easy topic to think about, it is immensely important. Schromen Law aims to make the process easier by walking clients through the document, and answering all questions and concerns. Set up a free consultation to discuss getting started on your Health Care Directive today!
The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Schromen Law, LLC and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.