Advance Medical Directives

Charlottesville Advance Medical Directives Attorneys

Making decisions about the type and extent of health care you wish to receive is a daunting task.  But it is preferable to make these decisions after careful thought and deliberation rather than in an emergency when unfamiliar professionals or estranged family members are left to determine the best course of proceeding on your behalf.  It is for this reason that Advance Medical Directives, which provide the opportunity to make important end-of-life decisions about your personal healthcare, are a critical component of any comprehensive estate plan.

An Advance Medical Directive is a significant document that conveys great power to another person.  As explained by the Virginia Division for the Aging, an Advance Health Care Directive or Advance Medical Directive allows you to write down your wishes regarding the kinds of medical treatment you want and name someone you trust to oversee these matters.  Then, in the event you are unable to make those decisions, your wishes as expressed in the Advance Medical Directive will control.

Under an Advance Medical Directive, you will appoint an agent who is a trusted individual to make decisions about your health care if you are unable to do so.  This person may be a family member or close friend but should be someone you trust deeply to make these critical decisions on your behalf.  Before finalizing your selection, it is important to inform the person you wish to act as your agent and clearly communicate your wishes to him or her.  This is often accomplished through a durable power of attorney.

The Advance Directive sets out the types of medical treatment you would or would not like to receive in certain situations.  This is also referred to as a Living Will and allows you to give your agent broad or specific power regarding certain end-of-life healthcare issues including:

  • Consenting or refusing to consent to any care, treatment, service or procedure to maintain, diagnose or otherwise affect a physical or mental condition;
  • Selecting or discharging healthcare providers or institutions;
  • Approving or disapproving diagnostic tests, surgical procedures and programs of medication;
  • Directing the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration and all other forms of healthcare including pulmonary resuscitation;
  • Making anatomical gifts, authorizing an autopsy, and directing disposition of remains.

These important directives include your wishes about being on life sustaining support such as a feeding tube or a respirator.

When you are considering how best to plan your estate, it is important that you have the guidance of a highly skilled and experienced estate planning attorney.  At MartinWren, P.C., our estate planning attorneys, G. Raye Jones and Gregory M. Johnson, will listen to your concerns and desires, thoroughly explain Virginia law regarding the role Advance Medical Directives play in a properly designed estate plan, and help structure a Living Will or Advance Medical Directive that accurately reflects your intentions. Call the Virginia estate planning attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. at (434) 817-3100 and let us give you the peace of mind that an Advance Medical Directive can bring.

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We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

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