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The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
William S. Fralin, Esq.
Advanced Medical Directives
The Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm, PC

Advanced Medical Directives

An advanced medical directive is a medical power of attorney and/or living will. A medical power of attorney is a document executed by a competent person (the principal) giving another person (the agent) the authority to make health care decisions for the principal if the principal is unable to communicate such decisions.
If you are incapacitated, it is important that someone has the legal authority to communicate your wishes concerning medical treatment. This is true especially if you were to disagree with family members or they were to disagree among themselves about your treatment. By executing a medical power of attorney you ensure that the directions you have given your agent will be carried out in the event of such disagreement.
Since your agent is going to have the authority to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to make such decisions yourself, your agent should be a family member or friend that you trust will follow your wishes. Before executing a medical power of attorney, you should talk with the person whom you want to name as your agent about your wishes concerning medical decisions, especially life-sustaining treatment.
A living will provides instructions on what type of care you would like if you have a terminal condition, persistent vegetative state, and/or irreversible coma. It may include specific instructions concerning the initiation or termination of life-sustaining treatment.
If you become able to express your wishes at any time, then you will be listened to and the advance directive will have no effect. Your agent should have the original documents. You should present this documentation every time you are admitted to a hospital or have a medical procedure. You should also tell your family that you have an advance medical directive. Contact a skilled elder law attorney to have your estate and incapacity plan documents executed.

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