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Health Care Directive

Each and every one of us will eventually arrive at a point in our lives where we cannot make important health care decisions on our own. But a Virginia advance medical directive can give you significant peace of mind, as it ensures that these difficult and important decisions will be made in accordance with your wishes. Having a medical directive in place prior to needing it can also make things easier on your family or loved ones in case you become ill, incapacitated, or are dying. Since these decisions require significant and careful thought, it is a good idea to work with a knowledgeable Fairfax medical directive attorney who can guide you through the process. The experienced team at S&R Law Firm can help you craft a living will that is right for you.

What is a Virginia Advance Directive?

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are two kinds of advance medical directives. In one type, you appoint a spouse, child, or friend as your agent to make health care decisions for you in case you cannot make them. You can, and should, detail your agent on the types of care you do and do not want. The authorization itself is known as a “power of attorney for health care.”

The second kind of advance directive, known as a living will, allows you to state in writing the types of life-prolonging medical care you would or would not prefer to have if your condition is terminal and you cannot state your wishes. While power of attorney is broader, a living will is specifically restricted to situations where your condition is terminal and applies only to treatments that will prolong your life. To best protect yourself, it is a good idea to have both a power of attorney and a living will.

In Virginia, a living will will only allow you to forgo medical treatment if your condition is terminal or if you are in a permanent vegetative state where you are unconscious, do not have self-awareness, cannot make a decision on your own, and are unlikely to recover. A physician must also verify that you fit these criteria before your living will can be consulted and used to make medical decisions. Working with a medical directive lawyer in Fairfax can help ensure that you have thoroughly considered all of your health care options and that they are clearly communicated.

Reasons to Have an Advance Directive

Obviously, an advance directive ensures that your health care will be managed as you want it to when you are unable to voice your own decisions. Additionally, in many cases your loved ones will be stressed and emotionally overwhelmed by a situation where you are facing death, and by having a living will to offer direction, you can make the situation easier on them.

An advance directive often includes instruction for decisions that would be incredibly difficult for your loved ones to make without them, such as life support, resuscitation, feeding tubes, and other major treatments. Without such a document, it is often much harder for family members to make these decisions without conflict, especially if you have never discussed these topics before. Simply knowing that your health care will be handled in ways that respect your wishes can bring significant comfort to your loved ones during this time.

A medical directive attorney in Fairfax can discuss this with you in more detail. At S&R Law Firm, we have compassionately guided many people through the advance directive process so they know that their affairs will be properly taken care of.

How do I Choose an Agent?

When choosing someone as an agent, it is best to select someone you trust and who is comfortable discussing difficult health related issues. In some cases, your agent may need to express your case to family members, loved ones, friends, or doctors. In other cases, they might need to go to court.

Choosing an agent who is assertive and capable of diplomacy is often a good idea. In addition, this person should be made aware in advance of your preferred decisions so they can be prepared to support them. Providing other friends and family members with copies of your Virginia advance medical directive and letting your doctor know that it exists is also a good idea.

Working with an Attorney

It is important to work with a Fairfax medical directive attorney when drawing up an advance directive. At S&R Law Firm, we will work with you to draft your advance directive thoughtfully so you know that your wishes will be respected.

To tell us more about your situation or if you ask questions, contact us for a free consultation at 703-273-6431.

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