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Estate Planning Lawyer: Understanding Durable Healthcare POA/Living Wills in Pennsylvania

No one wants to think about their own death or dying, but it's a reality. An accident can happen any day. You could be diagnosed with a terminal illness. If you do not have a plan established on end-of-life care or medical treatment preferences for when you are incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself, decisions will have to be made by family members. That can be a source of in-fighting and guilt. You don't want that. 

At L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire - Attorney at Law, we can go over these sensitive matters with you and help you devise a healthcare directive also known as a Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will that mirrors your values and beliefs. Contact us at 610-497-3579 or online to schedule a free consultation to learn more. In the meantime, below is a guide to healthcare directives that address common issues and questions that many of our clients have before coming to see us.

What Can Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will Do in Pennsylvania?

A Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney/Living Will is a set of medical instructions for what to do when someone is unable to make important medical decisions on their own. The underlying function of a Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will is to make a patient's healthcare wishes known before the medical issues arise. A Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will can address:

  • Living wills
  • Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders
  • Do-not-intubate (DNI) instructions
  • Organ donor registration
  • Designation of a healthcare proxy, or someone else to make medical decisions on the patient's behalf
  • Designation of a medical power of attorney

In sum, a Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will can do a lot for such a small part of an estate plan–they save your family the emotional pain of making healthcare decisions for you when you no longer can, and they secure your medical treatment preferences so that care you do not want is not provided while care you want is provided.

Creating a Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has established a form for a Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will. The law firm of L. THeodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire - Attorney at Law, would be glad to meet with you to help you prepare the form and ensure that it is filled out correctly. 

Upon creating a Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will, you should:

  1. Keep the originals in a safe, accessible place.
  2. Provide a copy to your doctor, health care agent, attorney, and/or loved ones.
  3. Be sure to log who has a copy of the directive so in case one is lost, you have a backup.
  4. Talk to family members about the decisions you made in the advance directive. It's good to establish boundaries and an understanding of your preferences.
  5. Keep with you (in your purse or wallet) and a condensed version of the directive with a note where a copy may be found––this is important for unexpected emergencies.

Changing Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will in Pennsylvania

Every few years, you should review your Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will and make changes accordingly. This is true for all your estate plan documents. There are two events that particularly prompt a need for an update: 

  1. A new diagnosis, a terminal illness or disease that will alter your way of life; and
  2. Marriage or divorce, i.e., you may want to change who you appoint as your healthcare proxy or agent.

The Benefits of Having a Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will as Part of an Estate Plan in Pennsylvania

Creating a Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will is not something that people like to think about––most people do not want to plan for serious medical problems. However, even young and healthy people stand to benefit from having a healthcare directive in place. 

Like an insurance policy, a healthcare directive helps them in a time of need, foreseeable or not. It also drastically reduces confusion at a moment when quick decisions need to be made. It can also remove the uncertainty and guilt that other people can feel when they have to make important decisions on someone else's behalf.

Contact a Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will Lawyer in Pennsylvania Today

Planning for your future health care is an important part of your estate plan. It is not something to be avoided. Peace comes with being prepared. At L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire - Attorney at Law, we will walk you through the steps of a Durable Healthcare POA/Living Will and all other components of an estate plan that suit your needs and wants. Contact us either by using the online form or calling us directly at 610-497-3579 to schedule a free consultation today.

Contact Me Today

L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire, Attorney at Law is an attorney you can trust to answer your questions, advise you on your rights, help you take the steps necessary to get the situation successfully resolved and if need be, to aggressively defend your rights in court.

We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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