Living Wills & Health Care Directives
A Living Will is sometimes also called an Advanced Health Care Directive. It is a legal document that lays out your decisions on certain medical procedures and treatments in the event you are unable to speak for yourself or make your own decisions down the road. You can also appoint someone else to make decisions for you. This person serves as your healthcare proxy and is usually a spouse, or if you do not have one, a parent, adult child, or sibling.
Your healthcare proxy should be at least nineteen (19) years old and cannot be your treating healthcare provider or an employee of your treating healthcare provider (unless the employee is related to you). This proxy can be anyone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. While it is not the most pleasant thing to think about, you should consider making a Living Will. That way if the worst does happen, your wishes will be known by your loved ones when you cannot speak for yourself.
Our family law firm is currently charging a $150 flat fee to prepare a Living Will for you. This includes us preparing the paperwork, going over it with you by phone and email, and getting it to you for you to have executed on your own or in one of our offices by a notary and witnesses. If you wish to have an in person consultation with our probate attorney then there is an extra consultation fee of $100 which must be paid at the time of the appointment. If you do not need an appointment and just want the paperwork, then we just charge the flat fee.
To do this, you can request for us to send you a questionnaire. You can get the questionnaire by email, mail, or dropping it off at an office. Once we receive the questionnaire, we will contact you to go over it with you and prepare the paperwork for you to execute. If you want an appointment in one of our offices, then we can set that up as well. We currently have offices in Anniston, Birmingham, Alabaster, Huntsville, Decatur, Montgomery, and Prattville. Call us today for more information about getting a living will prepared for you and your family.
Living Wills should address some of the most difficult decisions a person could make. What kind of treatment do you want to prolong your life if you are terminally ill or injured? Do you want to receive nutrition or hydration intravenously if terminally ill or injured? Do you want to be kept on life support if you fall into a permanent coma? If so, how long? Living wills can also address what your wishes are regarding CPR, if you want to be resuscitated, dialysis, and artificial respiration.
In order for your Living Will to be acted on, two physicians must agree that there is no reason to expect any kind of recovery. Also, Living Wills will not be acted on if the patient is a pregnant female. The Living Will also has lines for additional directions. For example, you may check the “Yes” box that you do want life sustaining treatment (e.g., drugs, machines, etc.), but in the additional directions box you can specify that you want your health care proxy you appointed to ultimately have the final say when this particular situation arises.
You should keep a copy of your Living Will either with you or make it easily accessible so that your wishes can be known and shown to the attending medical staff to prove your proxy has the right to speak for you. You may want to give a copy to your regular physician or to your proxy in the event of an emergency. You can also list alternatives to your proxy in case your first choice dies, becomes incapacitated, or is otherwise unavailable to speak for you.
These discussions are never easy, but making your wishes known while you are of sound mind and body is so important because it takes the guess work off of your family as to what you want. Making decisions about your life is hard enough, but most people who have had to serve as a proxy have said it was made easier knowing they were carrying out the patient’s wishes.
Our probate law attorneys charge a flat fee for Living Wills and would be glad to assist you in creating one and any other documents related to your estate planning. We have an office to meet you at in Shelby County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Morgan County, Montgomery County, Calhoun County, and Autauga County. Call today for more information on getting a living will prepared and executed for you and your family.