Advanced Directive

An ‘Advanced Directive’ generally refers to an oral or written instructions concerning your future medical care in the event that you are unable to express said desires. Typically, there are two types of advanced directives: a health care directive (also known as a Living Will or Directive to Physicians) and a durable power of attorney for health care (also known as a Health Care Proxy or Medical Power of Attorney).

 

Health Care Directive

A health care directive is a legal document that specifies your wishes regarding the care you receive at the end of life should you be unable to communicate them. In Washington State, a health care directive is only effective if you are in a terminal condition where life-sustaining treatment would only artificially prolong the process of dying; or if you are in an irreversible coma and there is no reasonable hope of recovery.

 

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

A durable power of attorney for health care is a legal document that allows you to name a person as your health care agent, i.e. someone you authorize to consent to, stop or refuse medical treatment for you if a physician determines that you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. Once appointed, your health care agent authorized to speak on your behalf anytime you are unable to make your own medical decisions. This includes end of life decisions.

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a form of a Durable Power of Attorney (see Durable Power of Attorney above) but is not the same as a Financial Power of Attorney (a Financial Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows another person that you choose to make financial decisions for you if you cannot make those decisions yourself).

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