Mullica Hill Living Wills Lawyer
Mullica Hill Living Wills Lawyer
Living wills, also known as medical decision powers of attorney or advanced health care directives, provide a way for people to create a document that states their wishes regarding medical procedures. These documents are legally binding. A living will allows a person to express their wishes even when they are no longer able to communicate these preferences themselves.
Regardless of the name used for them, living wills are extremely important. Still, it is just as critical that they are properly drafted so that they are considered legally binding and work as they are meant to. That is, so the creator’s wishes can be fulfilled. A Mullica Hill living wills lawyer can draft the document properly so they are not challenged but instead, upheld by a court of law.
Understanding Living Wills
The purpose of a living will is to let the individual who creates one control the medical treatment they may or may not receive. Within a living will, a person can appoint a trusted person to ensure their wishes are fulfilled. The medical treatment a person wants to receive or does not want to receive is also included in the living will.
There are two types of directives a living will include. These are proxy directives or instruction directives. Proxy directives provide the designation of a health care agent, or representative, in the event the individual cannot make decisions for themselves. It is generally recommended that when naming a proxy, a family member, or another person the creator places a great amount of trust in is used. This is the individual who will enforce the provisions within the living will.
An instruction directive, on the other hand, will provide instructions for the medical treatment the creator wishes to receive or does not want to receive. Although there are slight differences between instruction directives and proxy directives, there is one similarity. This is that the health care agent named in each must be someone the creator trusts explicitly.
Although legal, it is important to know that living wills can be revoked. When revoking a living will, it is crucial that the named proxy, hospital, doctors, and any other relevant parties are notified of the change. This will ensure that the creator’s wishes are fulfilled and that someone who they may no longer trust is not making decisions for them.
The Law on Living Wills
Mullica Hill, as throughout the rest of New Jersey, has had a law regarding living wills on the books since 1992. Under the law, individuals can create a living will or an advanced health care directive. Individuals can also name another person to make their health care decisions for them under the same law. Federal law also has specific laws that mirror the state laws of New Jersey. These are found in the Patient Self-Determination Act.
While living wills are legal under both state and federal law, there are certain requirements they must meet before they are considered legal and enforceable by the courts. For example, living wills are only considered valid if the person who created one was 18 years old or older at the time of the wills’ creation. Other requirements to ensure a living will is considered valid are as follows:
- All living wills must be signed and dated by the person who created them.
- The signature of the creator must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are also 18 years old or older, an attorney at law, a notary public, or any other person authorized to administer an oath.
- The witnesses must state the individual who signed the living will be of sound mind at the time of signing and that they were not placed under undue influence or duress.
- The health care agent named within the living will not be one of the witnesses when the document is signed.
A Mullica Hill living wills lawyer will make sure the document will be enforced by the courts if its use is ever necessary by drafting it properly.
How to Store Living Wills
There are many benefits of living wills for those who draft them. Unfortunately, too often these benefits are not realized simply because the living will be not stored properly. At the time a living will become necessary, the person who created it is no longer able to communicate on their behalf and so, they cannot tell people where the document is stored. Due to this, it is imperative that anyone who creates a living will store it properly and makes sure others know where it is stored.
It is generally recommended that after a living will is created, two copies are made. One is kept by the person who created the document, preferably in a safety deposit box or in another very secure area. The second copy should be forwarded to the person who will act as the health care proxy for the individual. This is an important step for many reasons. The first is to ensure the health carer agent has a copy in the event it ever becomes necessary. The second is to make sure the health care agent knows they have been appointed, and that they are able and willing to work in that capacity.
The Mullica Hill living wills lawyer that drafted the directive will also keep a copy of it in their records. This is very useful if the other copies of the document become lost or destroyed.
Speak to Our Living Wills Lawyer in Mullica Hill Today
Our Mullica Hill lawyer at Scott Counsel, P.C. knows the importance of living wills and can advise on the benefits and protection they provide. We can create the one needed for you and your family. If you are planning for your future and want to ensure your rights are protected, call us today at (856) 672-7248 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
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