Maryland law provides residents with the opportunity to make their medical wishes known in the event that they are not able to communicate these wishes during a moment of crisis. If you are hurt in an accident, are affected by advance age, or find that a serious illness renders you unable to communicate your medical wishes, having the proper documents in place can ensure that your final wishes are honored. Without a living will and designation of a health care proxy, these responsibilities can rest on the shoulders of relatives who may having a difficult time grasping the severity of the situation. In some dire situation, the final decision rests in a doctor or even a judge, neither of whom are likely to have a comprehensive understanding of your preference. The most important documents are discussed below.
If you have questions, give the team at Hammond and Associates a call today at 301-861-4555!
Living Will Planning in Maryland
A living will is a document in which you specify the types of medical treatments that you want to receive and don’t want to receive. For example, you can specify whether you want to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation, diagnostic tests, blood products, kidney dialysis, or other medical treatments. You can also specify whether you want to receive respiratory support from a breathing machine, receive tube feeding or have IVs. This document comes into play in the event that you have a terminal condition or you are considered to be permanently unconscious.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
A durable power of attorney for health care often complements a living will. This legal document gives someone the power to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This document can also help fill in the gaps of your living will so that if a particular treatment is being considered, your durable power of attorney for health care can help decide whether to provide such treatment. The term durable means that the document remains in effect even if you are later found to lack capacity.
The power of attorney that you select can be anyone of your choosing. Normal designations include a person’s spouse, relative, or close friend. The ideal person to serve in this capacity is someone who is familiar with your wishes and who will be able to carry them out during difficult times. This person may be calm under pressure and be resilient when facing challenges. Maryland law prohibits the agent named to be an owner, operator, or employee of a health care facility where you are receiving medical treatment unless that person would otherwise qualify for this role under state law or if this person is specifically appointed by you before you receive or agree to receive care from the facility.
Powers Provided in a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
The powers that your agent has may include the following:
- The right to contract for medical services on your behalf
- The right to review your medical records
- The right to order admission or discharge to a medical facility
- The right to consent to medical treatments on your behalf
- The right to consent to or refuse the administration of medication
A living will and a durable power of attorney for health care are often combined into a single document called an advance directive. This combined document has all of the same provisions as the separate forms would have. These documents may be left with a person’s primary care physician or local hospital
Legal Assistance for Living Trusts in Maryland
To ensure that your wishes are carried out or that your loved ones are protected, it is important to contact an elder law attorney for assistance. Fill out an online form or call 301-861-4555 to get in touch with the team at Hammond and Associates today.