Making it easy to acquire and prepare living wills, medical proxies and medical power of attorney form
Get Your Own Medical Directive Forms
Everyone, regardless of age or medical risk, should have an executed medical directive (a living will or medical power of attorney). It is intended to make clear your wishes for care in case of a medical emergency, when you are incapable of speaking for yourself. Unfortunately only about a third of Americans have prepared these documents regardless of health condition. There are a number of reasons for this but the most likely is the apparent complexity of the process. Here our intention is to simplify and streamline the process, making it quick and easy for everyone.
Simplifying The Process Of Creating Medical Directives
- Each of the 50 States have laws covering the form of Medical Directives
- 80% of most form requirements are common to a Majority of states
- A common tenant of law is simply understanding the intent of the signer
- Understanding intent takes priority over legal form in every instance
The Details On Selecting And Preparing Advanced Medical Directives
Most people believe, and it is a commonly accepted procedure promoted by a number of legal authorities, that you need to locate forms specific for your state. Virtually all of the fifty states have passed legislation outlining the specific form advanced medical directives should take. Utilizing that approach should provide the most legally accepted results, and you can download the form you need for your state at a number of websites. AARP has a good page with access to forms for all fifty states and you can find that page by clicking HERE. What isn’t mentioned by the legal experts is this thinking has some flaws. Consider a case where a resident of New York with that states approved directives, while traveling in Alabama ends up in a hospital and it’s discovered that his proxy is a daughter that lives in Montana. If the prevailing wisdom is accurate, will the doctors and hospital believe that it is legal to take instruction from the daughter.
Unfortunately this apparent non-standardization in these state forms is the major reason that a majority of people haven’t completed these vitally important documents. A number of legal commentators have suggested that using a non-statutory advance directive will leave the user with a document that may not be honored. This is most likely not true, as a number of legal experts disagree with this argument. The legal counsel for the Hastings Center for Bioethics is one authority that refutes this assertion. A number of accepted principles in law outline a simple common concept. If a documents source appears verifiable, it clearly states its intent and wishes and does not contain any major contradictions or ambiguous statements, it will usually be recognized by the law. Holographic wills are one example of this concept in the real world.
To make the best choice concerning Advanced Medical Directives it is recommended that individuals consider reviewing a number of sources and several document styles to ensure that they select and complete the document that best meets their personal needs.
Living wills work best for people that do not have anyone they feel comfortable with to take charge of their medical care decisions for a number of reasons. A living will normally states clearly the individuals wishes in circumstances where specific care should be applied or withheld and normally does not require decisions by another party. A medical power of attorney is recommended in situations involving complex care and decisions that may could not be anticipated and places the persons care decisions in the hands of another that should have a clear understanding of the individuals thinking about major medical situations. If you cannot decide whether a living will works best for your circumstances, or a medical power of attorney is a better fit, we recommend that most people execute both. Usually advance directives like these do not need an attorney to prepare them. But you will generally need to have your form witnessed and/or notarized, so take note of this requirement for your state.
Once you have completed your advance directive (living will etc.), you should ensure that everyone involved in your care has a copy and is aware of it. That includes your doctor, your hospital, hospice care team, important family members, and your attorney if you have one. It is also important that you have a clear system for its safe keeping, identifying names of individuals with copies and/or access along with a method for fast transfer of these documents in an emergency. A photo of the form in a cell phone is currently the most recommended method.
Disclaimer – It is not the intent of this site to offer legal advice but rather to provide information regarding current professional thinking about Advanced Medical Directives.
Our Living Will And Medical Power Of Attorney Forms
In selecting our universal forms we have carefully looked at the common elements of these forms as recommended for each state and incorporated these elements. In cases where there are unique elements or a major variation, we have made every effort to add these, often as an additional selection step in the form with included footnotes.
As already pointed out American courts have provided numerous cases where the clear intention of a document takes precedent over specific legal technicalities. It is vitally important that everyone, regardless of age have these Medical Directives and our goal is to make this as simple a process as possible. If you want to be completely assured of your forms acceptability our recommendation is to refer to the AARP form connection above