Advance Healthcare Directives

Estate and Elder Law Services Helps Delaware Residents Prepare for End-of-Life Healthcare Decisions

Using a living will to direct your medical care when you become unable to do so yourself

An advance healthcare directive allows you to appoint an individual to be responsible for making healthcare decisions on your behalf when you lack the capacity to do so yourself. Also known as a living will or healthcare proxy, it is an important legal document and planning device that is of special use to older individuals, who are more likely to face significant medical issues. 

It is also useful for any adult who wishes to plan in advance for unexpected events. Estate & Elder Law Services helps clients prepare and execute advance healthcare directives, explaining the options available and the meaning of each provision in the document. Our goal is to help you address these difficult but important issues so you can move forward with greater peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones will have clear guidance regarding your care should you become incompetent or otherwise incapacitated.

A healthcare directive can address important situations and necessary medical procedures when you are unable to respond

Living wills usually address end-of-life care decisions. These are issues related to your medical care if you have a terminal condition or end up in a state of permanent unconsciousness. You directive can state whether you want your life prolonged in such situations, and your desire for medical care to relieve pain and make you comfortable. It is possible to draft an advance healthcare directive so that it only applies to these situations.

It is also possible to use a healthcare proxy to appoint an agent who can make other healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so beyond end-of-life decisions. Your agent could be appointed to make decisions regarding the following issues, among others:

  • Surgical and diagnostic procedures
  • Medication
  • Access to medical records
  • Hospital or nursing home admittance and discharge
  • Hiring and firing doctors and other care providers

An attorney is often vital when drafting an advance healthcare directive. These documents can be complex and cover many situations. You may have religious or moral beliefs that impact your medical care and end-of-life decisions that need to be reflected in a living will. The broadly experienced estate planning attorneys at Estate Law and Elder Services can provide valuable assistance. Preparation of an advance healthcare directive is typically addressed in concert with other estate planning needs, such as the drafting of wills or planning for long-term care eligibility under Medicaid. But its value and importance are such that you should give serious consideration to having one drafted regardless of other planning efforts.