Elderly woman smiling with healthcare provider

Healthcare Planning With Advance Medical Directives

By Joshua Berkley

Are you thinking about creating or updating an advance medical directive in Shelbyville, Kentucky? With a lawyer’s help, your directive clearly communicates your medical wishes while complying with state law. A lawyer can ensure your document is legally valid and reflects your most important healthcare preferences. Don’t leave your future medical care to chance. Reach out to the knowledgeable lawyers at Berkley Oliver today to learn how we can help in a free consultation session.

What Is an Advance Medical Directive?

An advance medical directive is a legal document that allows you to express your wishes about possible medical treatments if you can no longer communicate or make decisions for yourself. This document becomes important if you ever sustain an incapacitating illness or injury. It guides your healthcare providers and loved ones in making care decisions that align with your preferences. 

By preparing an advance medical directive, you take control of your medical future. It ensures your doctors and family know what you want, which can prevent confusion and disagreements about your care. Your directive can cover a range of possible scenarios and decisions, from life-sustaining treatments to pain management preferences. Everyone, regardless of their current age or health condition, should consider creating an advance medical directive as a key part of their healthcare planning.

Types of Advance Medical Directives

Advance medical directives come in various forms, each serving a specific purpose in healthcare planning. Once you understand the different types of directives and what they can accomplish, you can choose the ones that best fit your needs. Here are the main types of advance medical directives:

  • Living Wills: A living will outlines your wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatments if you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious. It specifies which treatments you do or do not want to prolong your life, such as artificial breathing or feeding.
  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Healthcare: This type of document allows you to appoint someone (often called a healthcare proxy or agent) to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. The person you choose will have the authority to make decisions that align with your preferences as stated in your living will or as known to them.
  • Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders: A DNR order tells medical providers not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops or if you stop breathing. This type of document is specifically for use in a medical setting and must be signed by a doctor.
  • Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST): A POLST is a form designed for people who are seriously ill or frail. It outlines a plan for end-of-life care, reflecting your wishes about specific medical treatments you do or do not want.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Create an Advance Medical Directive?

Yes. You should always work with a trusted lawyer to create your advance medical directive. The stakes are high when it comes to getting your directive right, as it will determine how doctors will treat you if you can’t speak for yourself. A lawyer can ensure your document clearly states your wishes and adheres to all legal requirements. 

Your lawyer will know the specific rules and regulations for advance directives in your area. They can help you express your medical wishes in a legally sound and understandable way. They can also ensure your directive reflects any recent changes to the law or your personal situation. 

An attorney can also guide you in choosing a healthcare proxy and ensure your document accurately communicates your decisions about life-sustaining treatments. With a lawyer’s help, you can feel confident that your directive will stand up in any situation, giving you peace of mind for the future.

Contact an Advance Medical Directive Attorney Now

At Berkley Oliver, we understand the importance of having an advance medical directive that accurately reflects your wishes. We offer personalized guidance to ensure your directive is clear, valid, and effective. Contact our team today for a free initial consultation, and let us help you create a plan that provides clarity and peace of mind for the future.

About the Author
Josh Berkley is an attorney and owner at Berkley Oliver PLLC who helps individuals implement plans to protect their assets and their loved ones. Josh focuses his practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law.  From assisting young parents in making a plan to provide for their children, to helping senior clients qualify for Medicaid, Josh works with clients to create estate plans and life plans tailored to each person’s specific goals. He also helps clients with a wide variety of important legal documents such Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate Designations, and Living Wills. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Josh here.