How the Advanced Healthcare Directive can control your medical care to consent or refuse any medical treatment, make decisions not to resuscitate, select healthcare providers, apply for Medicaid, appoint an Agent to be guardian and provide for disposition of body.
An Advanced Medical Directive deals with life’s real issues and combats the problems that arise where most boilerplate healthcare powers of attorney, healthcare proxies, living wills and others fall short. The Terri Schiavo case is a prime example of such a problem where the power to control one’s medical condition becomes a gray realm and ends up in a myriad of appeals, numerous motions, petitions and hearings for many years in litigious battle. The result is much heartache, financial strain and most often unrealized unwanted outcomes.
What is an Advanced Healthcare Directive? Top Ten Factors for Your Medical Care
An Advanced Medical Directive is a legal written instrument signed by you and the individual you identify as your Agent to control your medical care with both signatures supervised before a notary public. Herein are the top ten reasons how an Advanced Healthcare Directive can make legal, life-saving decisions for you when you cannot. Your written instrument should contain:
- Legal identity of yourself, mailing address, social security number.
- Legal appointment and identity of your Agent’s mailing address and social security number.
- Legal identity of an alternative Agent, in case where your primary Agent is unavailable, or unable to make decisions, or unwilling to make decisions.
- An articulated written authorization for your Agent:
- To consent or refuse consent to any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or otherwise affect a physical or mental condition, including approval or disapproval of diagnostic tests, medical or surgical procedures.
- To request, receive, examine, copy, and consent to the disclosure of medical information or any other healthcare information.
- To make decisions regarding orders not to resuscitate as well as decisions to provide, withhold, or withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration, and all other forms of healthcare to keep you alive.
- To select and discharge health care providers, organizations, institutions and programs and to make and change healthcare choices and options relating to plans, services, and benefits.
- To apply for public or private healthcare programs, to include Medicare, Medicaid, and any benefits without your Agent incurring any personal financial liability.
- To direct that your healthcare providers and others involved in your care provide, withhold, or withdraw treatment in accordance with the limits of generally accepted healthcare standards.
- To decide not to prolong your life if you have an incurable and irreversible condition that will result in your death within a relatively short time, or you become unconscious and, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, you will not regain consciousness, or the likely risks and burdens of treatment would outweigh the expected benefits.
- To direct treatment or withhold treatment to alleviate pain or discomfort even if it hastens your death.
- To the extent that your wishes are unknown to your Agent, your Agent may make all healthcare decisions in accordance with your best interest considering your personal values and other factors known by your Agent.
- An appointment of your Agent to become your Guardian if there’s a reason for a legal appointment of such a Guardian, together with power for the Alternative Agent to become the Guardian in cases where the primary Agent is unavailable, or unwilling to serve.
- A very important paragraph to negate your consent to committing you or to place you in a mental health treatment facility, or to convulsive treatment, or to psychosurgery, sterilization, or abortion.
- Participation or non-participation to the donation of your organs and body parts for purposes of transplant, therapy, research, or for other educational purposes.
- A severability clause not to void the agreement or any provisions of the agreement considered non-essential to the primary purpose and essential to the principal objective.
- A modification clause allowing the agreement to me modified or revoked at any time.
- A provision for the final disposition of your body and any funeral arrangements.
In conclusion, a Medical Directive is a morbid action to take, nobody wants to think about dying, but in this case, it could save your life.
Rocco Beatrice, CPA, MST, MBA, CWPP, CMMB, CAPP
Managing Director, Estate Street Partners, LLC
Mr. Beatrice is an asset protection, award-winning trust and estate planning expert.