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Health care directives must be considered carefully

Health care directives are an important part of your estate plans. You should make sure that you understand the purpose and limitations of these documents so that you can get everything all set up.

The purpose of the health care directives is to designate someone who can make medical decisions for you when you aren't able to make them yourself. This person is known as your power of attorney for health care.

Another component of this is a list of treatments and things that you are willing to accept and the ones that you want to decline. These are things that you have to think about very carefully because each decision can impact the medical care that you are able to receive.

There are some limitations to what an advance directive can do. First, emergency response personnel, such as EMTs and paramedics, have to provide stabilizing care for you if they are called. Even if you have a do not resuscitate order, they will have to take life-saving steps if they are called.

Second, the advance directive can't go against the policies of the medical facility. Third, they can't force a medical professional to do something that goes against their conscious. Fourth, they can't demand things that will lead to ineffective health care.

When you create the advance directive, you should make sure that you think about these points. If you have any questions or concerns about what you are going to include, get legal help and discuss your options with your medical care team. This might help you address the issues that you feel are important.

Source: FindLaw, "Health Care Directives: Is there a Duty to Follow Them?," accessed Aug. 21, 2017

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