Hammonton Living Wills Lawyer
Hammonton Living Wills Lawyer
Advanced health care directives commonly known as medical decision powers of attorney or living wills allow a person to create a legal document that outlines their wishes about medical procedures. The document is intended to allow the person to express their wishes when they can no longer communicate them on their own. These legal documents are extremely important and it is just as critical that they are drafted properly so they are upheld by the court and so a person’s wishes can be fulfilled. A Hammonton living wills lawyer will ensure the document is drafted correctly so it is enforceable and is not contested.
What is a Living Will?
Living wills are intended to allow the person who creates one to control the course of any medical treatment they receive. They can do this by naming a trusted individual within the will and allowing them to make decisions on their own. The individual can also include within their living will the medical treatment they wish to receive, and that which they wish not to receive.
Living wills in Hammonton, as throughout the rest of New Jersey, can include a proxy directive as well as an instruction directive. Instruction directives provide direction and instruction about the individual’s wishes for health care if the individual cannot decide on their own.
Proxy directives are legal documents that designate a health care representative in case the individual no longer can make decisions. Most Hammonton living wills lawyers will recommend that the appointed proxy is a relative, close friend, or other trusted individual who will have the authority to enforce the directives within the living wills.
Are Advance Directives Legal?
In New Jersey, advanced directives are entirely legal. The statute about advance directives was created in 1992 and it authorizes specific individuals to execute an advance directive. Under this statute, individuals can also appoint someone else for their health care decisions. Every state in the country recognizes advance directives, and they are also allowed under the federal Patient Self-Determination Act.
It is important to know though, that living wills must meet certain requirements to be recognized by the courts. For example, an advance directive is only considered legal if the person creating it was 18 years of age or older at the time of creation. An advance directive created by a 16-year-old would likely not be recognized by the court. Other requirements that must be met for an advance directive to have any effect include:
- Advance directives must be signed and dated by the creator.
- The advance directive must be signed in the presence of two adult witnesses, a notary public, an attorney at law, or other individuals authorized to administer the oath.
- The witnesses at the signing of the advance directive must attest to the fact that the creator is of sound mind and is not signing under duress or undue influence.
- The health care representative designated within the living will not act as a witness of the signing of the document.
To ensure any advanced directive is considered enforceable by the court, it is important to speak to a Hammonton living wills lawyer that can ensure the document is drafted properly.
Storing Advance Directives
Advance directives have many benefits to those who create them, but those benefits cannot be realized unless the document is readily available. An advance directive only plays a role when the person who created it is no longer able to communicate on their behalf. As such, people must tell loved ones where to find their advance directives if something happens to them. The majority of hospitals will ask patients, or their proxy if they have an advance directive before they are admitted.
To ensure the health care representative has access to the directive, it is generally recommended for the individual creating it to take two copies with them after the document is created. One should be kept in a safety deposit box or another safe area within their home, while the other should be given to the named healthcare representative. Providing the agent with a copy will not only ensure they have a copy but will also confirm that they know they have been appointed. A Hammonton living wills lawyer will also likely keep a copy in their records, if all other copies are destroyed or lost.
Who to Name as a Health Care Representative?
There are two important considerations for individuals who are considering naming another person as their health care representative. The first is that the health care representative is someone who the creator of the advance directive trusts. Most often it is a family member but there are times when it is another person. The second important consideration is that the person named is willing to take on the role of the health care representative. People are not always willing to make such important decisions on someone else’s behalf, so it is important to keep that consideration in mind.
Revocation of Advance Directives
It is important to know that living wills can be revoked either through oral, written, or other means. When revoking an advance directive, it is important to notify the current named health care agent, as well as any doctors, nurses, or other healthcare professionals that can act as witnesses. Instructive directives and proxy directives can also be created to revoke any which were previously made.
Our Living Wills Lawyer in Hammonton Will Help Protect Your Future
At Scott Counsel, P.C., our Hammonton living wills lawyer has the necessary experience to guide you and your family while drafting a living will. We know how to customize these legal documents according to your unique needs and will ensure the document protects your future and ensures your needs will always be met. Call us today at (856) 485-4585 or connect with us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
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