Advance Directives For Medical Treatment And End-Of-Life Care

When sudden tragedy strikes or a loved one falls gravely ill, it raises important questions about medical intervention and life support. This often leads to confusion, delays and family feuds if the patient’s wishes are not known.

An advance health care directive in Utah not only nominates an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate your wishes, but it also gives guidance to physicians and the family concerning end-of-life decisions. It helps to ensure your wishes are known and honored in the event you are not able to communicate or make decisions for yourself. The Law Office of Penniann J. Schumann PLLC can individualize this critical document in conjunction with your other estate planning documents.

What Is An Advance Health Care Directive?

An advance health care directive, also known as a living will, provides specific direction regarding you medical care. There are two parts to the directive:

  • Your express wishes – If you were unconscious after a car accident or unable to communicate because of physical or mental incapacity, the advance directive spells out not only who you wish to make the decisions about your care, but also spells out which treatments you would or would not want. For example, under what circumstances would you want to be resuscitated? Would you want to be kept alive with a feeding tube or a ventilator, or allowed to die naturally? And so on.
  • Your health care proxy – One trusted person is designated to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. That person must act in your best interests and according to your stated wishes. Doctors know whom to contact and the rest of the family is not left scrambling and arguing. This authority can be crucial in emergency situations and in end-of-life scenarios.

Making Decisions While You Still Can

These are difficult and intensely personal questions, but imagine the pain and guilt your loved ones would face if they had to guess your wishes and make those choices. Our two attorneys have 60 years of combined experience. We will walk you through different scenarios to help you decide what you would want and make peace with those decisions.

An advance directive goes hand in hand with a durable power of attorney for your financial affairs and drafting a will in the event that incapacity leads to death. To arrange a consultation, call our Salt Lake City law office at 801-839-4891 or reach out by email.