At the Piatchek Law Firm, we help our clients navigate some of life’s most difficult questions, including those related to end-of-life planning. The purpose of advance health care directives is to put your wishes in writing, so that your family members do not need to make these difficult decisions for you. Health care directives usually address the following general question:
If you were nearing the end of your life and there were certain treatments that may make you live longer, but those treatments would not actually cure you, would you want any such treatments?
This is an unpleasant line of questioning, but answering the hard questions (in writing) keeps your family members from having to answer for you. They won’t need to divine or assume what your decisions would be. Instead, they will simply have to see that your decisions are enforced.
What Is the Difference Between a Health Care Directive and a Living Will?
Our attorneys sometimes get asked this question. While the answer depends on the actual wording of any given legal document, here is a general answer.
Health care directive forms typically give the person signing the document the ability to say “yes” or “no” to various types of treatments, in various types of circumstances. In addition, it gives the person signing the chance to answer other general health care questions, such as those regarding organ donation and hospice care, and provide different types of feedback.
Living wills, on the other hand, typically do not give the person signing the document the ability to say “yes” or “no.” Instead, the living will is usually just a blanket statement stating that the signer of the document does not want their life to be prolonged if there is no reasonable expectation of recovery.
All in all, the documents can be very similar, depending on what specific document formats are used and how the documents are filled out. Theoretically, if a person filled out a health care directive in such a way that it said that the person did not want their life to be prolonged unless there was a “reasonable expectation of recovery,” then that health care directive would be very similar indeed to many living wills.
Helping You Achieve Peace of Mind
At the Piatchek Law Firm, our attorneys regularly assist clients with health care directives, including engaging in discussions and offering advice that may be necessary for our clients to confidently proclaim their wishes in writing. For quality, affordable legal services, call us today at 417-882-5858. We would be happy to discuss health care directives, living wills, or any other estate planning topic. Free consultations are available, and we offer evening and weekend appointments. In addition, we may be able to arrange a home visit if you are unable to travel to our offices.