All About Having a Living Will | Gittens & Associates

Living Will or Advance Health Care Directive - Turn to the team at Gittens & Associates for professional legal assistance

5 things you need to know about having a living will

A living will is a legal document that allows individuals to indicate what types of medical treatment whey wish to accept or refuse in the event that they become incapacitated. This document comes into effect when individuals have lost their ability to communicate or make decisions.

The first thing you need to know about living wills is that this term comes from the American legal lexicon: the corresponding term in Newfoundland and Labrador is “advance health care directive,” or simply “advance directive.” Here are five more things you should know about this legal document.

It is not for your benefit alone
An advance directive gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you’ll receive the sort of medical care you desire should you fall into a coma, enter a vegetative state, lose your ability to speak or can no longer make your own decisions. Additionally, an advance directive will relieve family members of a tremendous burden in difficult circumstances.

It allows you to name a substitute decision maker
In your advance directive, you can name a substitute decision maker. This individual will be in charge of communicating the instructions in your directive to medical professionals. He or she will also make health care decisions on your behalf when necessary.

It is legally binding
This document is meant to speak for you in the event that you need medical treatment but aren’t able to give consent. Health care providers must honour the instructions in an advance directive, provided they conform with the law.

It can be changed or cancelled
If you change your mind about your advance directive, you can alter or revoke it at any time. You can invalidate it simply by destroying it, however should also indicate your intentions in writing. This can be done by writing a new advance directive.

Using a lawyer is advantageous
An advance directive is a legal document and, as such, should be written in precise legal language. A wills and estates lawyer can help ensure that there are no errors or confusing language in the document and that all the important points have been covered.

Additionally, a lawyer will walk you through all other legal paperwork. This may include a power of attorney document, which authorizes another person to take care of financial and legal matters if you become incapacitated.

Experienced wills and estates lawyers in Newfoundland
If you’ve decided to write a living will or advance health care directive, turn to the team at Gittens & Associates for professional legal assistance. Our firm also provides legal representation in criminal law, wills and estates, personal injury, medical malpractice, immigration law and a variety of other branches of the legal system. Contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation.

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