Advanced Directives

Advanced Directives / Health Care Power of Attorney / Living Will (Declaration of Desire for Natural Death)

The attorneys of Davis Frawley, LLC in Lexington, South Carolina, provide assistance in preparing and executing advanced directives.   Advanced directives are legal documents in which you may express your wishes for health care and treatment in the event you become unable to make and communicate decisions due to illness or incapacity.  In South Carolina, the term “advanced directives” is generally used to refer to the state-standardized Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney forms.

In a Living Will you may express your wishes concerning life-sustaining treatment in the event you become terminally ill or persistently vegetative.   The Living Will takes effect at the point you are unable to communicate and are not expected to recover.   With the Living Will, you must decide what treatment should or should not be administered in the future, without knowing what your circumstances will be.

In a Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA), you may name agents, in the order of your preference, who may make health care decisions for you if you become unable to make and communicate your wishes.  You may also specify instructions with respect to organ and tissue donation, as well as life-sustaining treatment.  Your HCPOA takes effect when you become unable to make health care decisions.   Your agent may then make decisions when the need arises, based on circumstances known to them at that time.   Since you are able to name agents who may make all health-related decisions for you (instead of merely those related to terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness), the HCPOA is generally preferable to the Living Will.

Health care facilities are required by law to ask whether you have an Advance Directive, upon admission.  It is advisable to provide copies of these documents to your named agents, family members, primary physician, and others who may participate in health-related decisions for you.  If you have not executed any form of Advanced Directive and you become unable to give instructions concerning your care, your family may have to petition the Probate Court for appointment of a Guardian in some circumstances.

Related areas: Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will (Declaration of Desire for Natural Death), Durable Power of Attorney, Financial Power of Attorney, Guardianship and Conservatorship, Elder Law / Special Needs Planning; Estate Planning/Disability Planning/Wills/Trusts

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