Advanced Directives & Living Wills

An advanced health care directive is a legal document that establishes what medical actions should be taken if you become incapacitated (i.e. unable to give informed consent). There are five types of advanced health care directives: living wills, CPR directives, medical power of attorney, disposition of last remains declarations, and oral and tissue donation declarations.

1. Living Will

A living will concerns the administration, withholding, or withdrawal of life sustaining medical treatment when (1) a person is terminally ill and (2) is unconscious or incapable of making decisions due to incapacity for 7 consecutive days. A living will may also contain instructions concerning a persistent vegetative state that does not feature terminal illness. Considering the high cost of certain medical procedures and life support, having a living will could significantly impact the value of your estate.

2. CPR Directives

CPR treatments are resuscitation techniques that include chest compressions, breathing tubes, and other procedures that attempt to restore cardiac and/or pulmonary function. If you wish for these techniques not to be performed if your pulse or breathing ceases, you must obtain a CPR directive from a physician’s office or the Colorado Department of Health and have it signed by a physician following a consultation.

3. Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney establishes an agent that will make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to give informed consent. Unlike a living will, a medical power of attorney may apply to situations other than those defined by a terminal illness and 7 consecutive days of unconsciousness or incapacity. As with a living will, the agent’s authority is defined by your wishes, and the agent must honor the terms of your living will.

4. Disposition of Last Remains Declarations

A disposition of last remains declaration establishes how your body should be handled after you die. A disposition of last remains declaration may be included in any of the following documents:

  • A will
  • A living Will
  • A prepaid funeral, burial, or cremation contract
  • A medical power of attorney document
  • A designated beneficiary agreement

Four matters commonly addressed in a disposition of last remains declaration are cremation, burial, entombment, and ceremonial rites.

5. Organ and Tissue Donation Declarations

An organ and tissue donation declaration is commonly established in one of three ways: on a driver’s license, in an individual document, or as part of a living will. An organ and tissue donation declaration also allows you to specify your organs’ destination and/or establish priority for certain individuals.

Deciding which advanced health care directives are right for you is an important decision that should be made with the assistance of an estate attorney who has experience with the aforementioned advanced health care directives. At Ellmann P.C., our years of experience in successfully addressing Colorado Advance Directive Living Will needs qualifies us as a top advanced health care directives law firm. To learn more about establishing a Colorado Advanced Directive Living Will, contact our experienced advanced directive living will attorneys today.

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