It’s scary to think about ever being unable to make your own medical decisions. You could go in for routine surgery, something could go wrong, and you could end up in a coma. You could be in an automobile accident and be unconscious for a period of time. We of course hope nothing would ever happen to you, but anything can happen. And if it does happen, doctors will need guidance on your medical treatment options. For that reason, every Utah estate plan should include an Advanced Health Care Directive. This can essentially become your lifeline when you cannot make decisions on your own medical treatment options or life support options.
Without any guidance from you in writing, your doctors may be forced to seek that guidance from someone else in your family. That person may not be someone you want to be involved in your health care matters. Or, that person may feel overwhelmed by making decisions for you without guidance on what youwould have wanted.
Just as with a Power of Attorney, we encourage anyone over 18 years old to have a Utah Advanced Health Care Directive in place. In fact, we often encourage parents of children heading off to college to consider helping their children set up these documents because, unfortunately, accidents or serious illnesses do happen while your child is away at college.
In Utah, an Advanced Health Care Directive document consists of two main parts: a Health Care Power of Attorney, in which you name an agent to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to make decisions or speak for yourself, and a Living Will, in which you spell out your life-sustaining treatment preferences. At Summit Legacy Planning, we use the forms directed by the State of Utah (Utah Code § 75-2a-117) to ensure familiarity and ease of acceptance by medical providers.
We welcome you to read further to learn more. Contact us online, or by calling our Park City office, for more information on how we can help you establish your Advanced Health Care Directive.
In your Health Care Power of Attorney, you appoint an agent to make medical decisions for you. Your agent may be your spouse, child, or other immediate family member or friend. Every family is unique and we will help you decide who would be the best person to make these decisions for you.
In your Living Will, you can specify your wishes about life-prolonging treatment options and end-of-life care. These decisions are difficult for family members to make on your behalf without any input from you, so it is crucial that you specify what you wish in your document.
Ultimately, your health care wishes should always be a continuing conversation with your loved ones. But putting them in writing in a well-drafted Advanced Health Care Directive will ensure your health care wishes are carried out and your loved ones have peace of mind at a difficult time.
We encourage you to contact us for additional information about an Advanced Health Care Directive or about any of our other services.