Innovations in the medical field have improved the rate of survival for the seriously injured and ill. Now that health care professionals are better able to save and prolong lives, concerns relating to prolonged suffering and delays in the dying process have become more of an issue.
Every person has the right to consent or decline any and all forms of medical treatment. But, what if you are too ill or injured to communicate your consent or refusal to a doctor?
This is a reasonable concern that can easily be addressed with a living will, which is sometimes called an Advance Health Care Directive.
An living will is a collection of legal documents that you create in advance to inform your doctor, family, and friends of your health care preferences, as they relate to the kinds of medical treatment you may or may not want in end-of-life and other medical emergencies.
An Advance Health Care Directive can also specify and describe your wishes for diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, CPR, and to donate your organs. Creating an Advance Health Care Directive allows you to do three very important things under Colorado law:
The bottom line is that an Advance health care directives allow you to exercise legal control over your own health care, even when you are unable to communicate your desires or have become mentally incapacitated. When an AHCD is in place, you are prepared in case you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your desires for health care.
When thinking about who to designate as your health care agent, make sure you choose someone you trust, like a relative, spouse, or a good friend. Your health care agent needs to be aware of your individual values and beliefs and agree to communicate them to your doctors.
It is also recommended that you designate someone who lives close to you, whenever possible, in case they are required to stay involved in your treatment plan for a prolonged period of time. Also, make sure you discuss your desires regarding medical care with your designated agent after confirming that the individual is willing to take on the responsibility.
Colorado allows you to appoint someone 18 years of age or older to be your health care agent. This person should be someone who can:
A living will in Colorado enables you to grant your health care agent as broad or as limited power as you like. The health care agent's power may include:
Furthermore, you have the option of allowing or restricting your agent's authority to do things after you have passed away, for example, the authority to:
Usually, your health care agent can begin to act on your behalf only after you have become incapacitated. However, you may specify in the living will that your health care agent is immediately authorized to act on your behalf.
In order to execute an Advance Health Care Directive in Colorado, you must:
Yes. You may modify or revoke your Advance Health Care Directive whenever you like. To revoke a specified health care agent's power, you must inform your primary health care provider. To modify or revoke your health care instructions, you can do so whenever you want and in whatever way that conveys your intent to the necessary parties.
Creating a new Advance Health Care Directive instantly revokes your previous Advance Health Care Directive. Nevertheless, to avoid confusion, you should inform anyone has been given a copy of your previous Advance Health Care Directive of the changes or revocation.
To find out more about Advance Health Care Directives in Colorado, contact our qualified and experienced Colorado estate planning attorneys through the contact link on our website.