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Advanced Care Directive & Living Will with Kane & Crowell

Advanced Care Directives & Living Wills

In Tennessee, you have the right to decide about your medical care. Even when you cannot communicate those decisions due to illness or incapacity. Advanced care directives and living wills are legal documents allowing individuals to outline their preferences for medical treatment before such situations occur. Understanding these documents and their implications is crucial if you wish to have control over your medical care in the event of incapacity.

What are Advanced Care Directives and Living Wills?

People often use advanced care directives and living wills interchangeably, but they serve slightly different purposes:

  1. Living Will. A living will is a written statement outlining an individual’s preferences for medical treatment if they become incapacitated and cannot communicate their wishes. It typically addresses life-sustaining treatments, resuscitation, and palliative care.
  2. Advanced Care Directive. An advanced care directive is a broader document that may include a living will. It can appoint a healthcare proxy or power of attorney to make medical decisions on the individual’s behalf if the individual cannot.

In Tennessee, the law legally recognizes both advanced care directives and living wills as legal documents, provided they meet these requirements,

  • Capacity. The individual creating the document must be of sound mind and legal age.
  • Witnesses. The document must be signed by the individual and witnessed by two adults. These adults must be unrelated to the individual and would not benefit financially from the individual’s estate.
  • Notarization. While not required, having the document notarized can add an extra layer of validity.

Importance of Advanced Care Directives and Living Wills

  1. Ensuring Your Wishes are Honored. By creating an advanced care directive or living will, you can ensure that medical professionals know and respect your wishes regarding medical treatment.
  2. Reducing Family Conflict. These documents can also help reduce conflicts among family members with differing opinions about medical care. Having clear instructions can alleviate the burden of decision-making during already stressful times.
  3. Peace of Mind. Documenting your healthcare preferences can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Plus, you’ve already considered and addressed the difficult decisions.

How to Create Advanced Care Directives and Living Wills

  1. Hire an Attorney. It’s advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning or elder law. An experienced attorney can ensure your documents comply with Tennessee state law and accurately reflect your wishes.
  2. Document Preparation. As your legal counsel, we will draft your documents to include specific instructions regarding medical treatment preferences. In addition to the appointment of a healthcare proxy if desired.
  3. Execution. Once we’ve drafted the document and you’ve approved it, it must be signed and dated by two witnesses. These witnesses must meet the legal requirements outlined by Tennessee law.
  4. Distribution. We will guide you through distributing document copies to ensure they are accessible when needed.

We Can Help If Significant Changes Occur

It’s important to review and, if necessary, update your advanced care directives and living will periodically. Especially if there are significant changes in your health status, personal relationships, or medical preferences. If this need arises, contact us and we will be happy to help.

Advanced Care Directives & Living Wills Are Powerful Tools

Advanced care directives and living wills allow you to control your medical care. Even in circumstances where you cannot advocate for yourself. By creating these documents with an experienced attorney, you can ensure they are legally valid. Doing this provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

We Consider it a Privilege to Help Ensure Your Wishes are Honored

We consider it a privilege to help ensure that your wishes will be honored in the event of medical incapacity. And ensure these documents accurately reflect your preferences and comply with Tennessee state law. Life brims uncertainty and is an unpredictable journey we navigate. Therefore, it is important to utilize indispensable estate planning tools, such as Advanced Care Directives & Living Wills. With five attorneys, five paralegals, and a team of support staff, someone is always available to speak with you. Call us with your questions at (615) 784-4800.