Although the terms living will and advance directives are often used interchangeably, they are actually different.
As part of our estate planning services here at Piervincenti & Tarantino Law, PLLC, we recommend that our clients consider what their medical care wishes are and put into place documentation that will speak on their behalf if they are unable to. Regardless of your age, we suggest having living will / advance directives documents prepared and copies given to your doctor, the department of records at area hospitals, to your healthcare agent if you have one, to family members, your minister, and to have on hand to take with you when traveling outside the Mooresville, North Carolina area in case you are admitted to a hospital. You should also carry a card in your wallet that identifies your health care agent and where your living will / advance directives can be found.
Although the terms living will and advance directives are often used interchangeably, they are actually different. A living will is a type of advance directive, but not all advance directives are living wills. A living will is a legal document that covers your wishes for medical treatments regarding keeping you alive if your condition is terminal. It covers topics such as CPR, ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, medications, and comfort care. It also can cover organ and tissue donation or donating your body for scientific study.
Advance directives involve naming a healthcare proxy that can make medical decisions about your care if you are unable to voice your wishes yourself. You do not need to be terminal and you can make changes to your advance directives as conditions change, such as a change in diagnosis or marital status, or if you want to change who you have named as your healthcare agent.
If you have questions about a living will or advance directives, or need these documents prepared, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can also help you with other estate planning tasks, including probate administration, trusts, wills, and power of attorney. Call today to schedule a consultation.