Advanced Health Care Directives provide instructions about the course of treatment to be followed by healthcare providers if you cannot make these decisions at the time due to incapacity or illness. An Advanced Health Care Directive gives an individual, chosen in advance by the creator of the directive, the authority to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the incapacitated or terminally ill patient. In addition, the Advanced Health Care Directive specifies the medical services the incapacitated or terminally ill person wants or does not want, at an end of life situation. A properly designed estate plan should contain a directive with both of these provisions.
One of the most important benefits of an Advanced Health Care Directive is that it can prevent a court proceeding known as Guardianship. In a Guardianship proceeding, the Maryland court decides who will make healthcare decisions for you in the event of incapacity. This could very well be someone you would not want to make such decisions for you. With a properly designed and implemented Advanced Health Care Directive, someone of your own choosing will make decisions on your behalf, and your family will be spared the pain of a Guardianship proceeding.
It is important to note that you should inform your loved ones and primary care physician that you have created an Advanced Health Care Directive, and how to locate it in an emergency. Contact our office to speak with an attorney about establishing an Advanced Health Care Directive.