December 18, 2017

What is a Healthcare Directive (aka Living Will)?

Healthcare Directives are included in an Estate Plan. These documents allow you to direct a physician to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining procedures in future circumstances. They are legally binding documents. In fact, many medical facilities ask if a patient has a Healthcare Directive during the admission process. Most, if not all, jurisdictions now recognize a patient’s right to make these decisions in advance of a terminal condition, if death is imminent, and/or if life-sustaining measures serve only to postpone death. When acting pursuant to a properly prepared and executed Healthcare Directive, a physician who withholds or withdraws life-sustaining measures is protected from civil and criminal liability. Healthcare Directives must be prepared and executed pursuant to stringent state statues to be valid and effective. It should include authorization for your agent to obtain your medical records under federal and state law. The acronym for the authorization is HIPPA and CIMA.