When you’re admitted to the hospital, you will likely receive a health care proxy or living will form to sign. Yes, it’s better to sign a generic version of these forms than to not sign one at all. But you never know how carefully it has been drafted — and it won’t be tailored to your specific needs.
The best thing to do is to have a health care proxy drafted by an attorney with your specific needs and wishes in mind.
What Is a Health Care Proxy?
One of the main things a health care proxy does is allow you to name someone who will, in the event of your incapacity, act as your agent regarding medical decisions. Generally, the health care proxy only goes into effect if you need medical treatment, but are unable to communicate with your physician.
Aside from naming your agent, a health care proxy can also give that agent instructions about your medical wishes. For example, a health care proxy might address the following:
- The name of the person who will be acting on your behalf (the agent) and an alternate, if possible
- Treatment that you do or do not want (feeding tubes, blood transfusions, resuscitation, etc.), should you be terminally ill, in a coma, or suffer brain damage from which you cannot recover
- Treatment for non-terminal issues in the event you are unable to communicate your wishes
- Life support
- Pain medication
- Organ donation
- Whether or not you’d like to be buried or cremated, and what should be done with your remains
Have a Quality Health Care Proxy Drafted for Your Needs
Regardless of when you sign a health care proxy, it’s important to take the time to carefully consider your medical wishes before signing. Generic forms you get at the hospital or online typically don’t encourage this, which is why they’re not a good idea.
The best thing is to have a health care proxy drafted by a qualified professional, such as one of our attorneys. That way, your individual wishes will be taken into account, and you can rest assured that everything will go according to what you want, should you become unable to communicate with your physician. Additionally, if you already have a health care proxy as a part of your estate plan, signing a generic form at the hospital will negate it.
Call Bradford and Holliman!
Does all of this sound overwhelming to you? Call us for a free consultation and see how we can help. Setting up a personalized health care proxy is very important, and we can guide you through the entire process. Don’t wait until a crisis happens and you find yourself unprepared — contact us today!