Nassau County AHCD

It is often difficult to consider the possibility that something tragic could happen to us such as a serious illness or tragic accident, leaving us unable to communicate with others. Sadly, these things do happen. To ensure that you receive the treatment you desire and that you have the quality of life you choose, you should execute an advance health care directive, also known as an AHCD. If you do not have one, your family members will be left to struggle with making decisions about both your medical care and your financial affairs. Furthermore, your doctors will be placed in a difficult situation as they seek to make give you the treatment that you desire. An AHCD is a fundamental part of every adult’s estate plan—not only older adults. A Nassau County estate planning lawyer will be able to help you develop an AHCD that will ensure that your wishes are honored should you become incapacitated and are unable to communicate.

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What is an AHCD?

An AHCD is a legal document that gives details about the medical care your desire should you in some way become incapacitated so that you are unable to make decisions on your own. It only becomes effective under the circumstances set forth in the AHCD.

Using an AHCD you can appoint a health care agent. A health care agent is the person who will have the power to make health care related decisions for you should you become incapacitated to such an extent that you are unable to communicate your decisions. You can name practically anyone you want to fill this role such as your spouse, significant other, adult child, parent, or friend. The person you name should know you well. When you decide to name someone as your healthcare agent you should have a frank discussion with that person to make sure he or she understands your preferences and your beliefs. Of course, your AHCD documentation should also contain the details of your preferences.

What types of instructions are generally included in an AHCD?

In creating detailed instructions about your healthcare in your AHCD, you have a great deal of flexibility. For example, you can have different instructions for different types of diagnoses or for different prognosis. In other words if it is likely that you will fully recover and have a high quality of life your instructions would probably different than if you are not expected to recover. You can also be specific as to what types of life-saving or heroic measures you want the medical staff to take such as blood transfusions, surgery, or CPR.

What if I do not have an AHCD?

If you do not have an AHCD then there is a good chance that no one will know what your wishes are. Even if you have had informal conversations with family members about your wishes, there is no guarantee that doctors will take the word of your family members absent a formal document. In such cases a court may have to step in and appoint a conservator to make decisions for you. This is a result that you probably do not want as the conservator, though well-meaning, may make decisions on your behalf that you would not have made.

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As with all of your estate planning documents, you should periodically revisit your advanced health care directive to make sure that it continues to be consistent with your current wishes and beliefs. You can revoke or change your AHCD at any time. If you complete a new AHCD then the old one will automatically be revoked. To learn more about the advantages of an advanced health care directive as well as other estate planning tools, contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates. We will help you develop an overall estate plan that reflects your individual goals. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your estate plan.

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