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Do you have your Advance Directives filled out?
An advance directive is a document that communicates your wishes to doctors and healthcare providers about what kinds of medical treatments you wish or do not wish, once you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions. The State of Wisconsin allows two types of advance directives. They are a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. Advance directives and living wills are always written documents.
A living will is a set of written instructions that provides specific preferences about the kind of medical treatment a person would or would not want to have. A living will does not designate someone to make medical decisions on the person’s behalf, but rather allows a person to communicate their wishes about future care. A durable power of attorney for health care allows a person to choose a partner, family member or trusted friend to make decisions about care and treatment when he or she is no longer able.
Your advance directives should be kept by an immediate family member and a designated agent. Before you write your living will and/or durable power of attorney for health care, you should talk to your doctor and make sure you understand the meaning of all the medical procedures possible. Ask that copies of your advance directive be placed in your medical file, and make sure the hospital also has a copy of this important document.
In order for your advance directives to be valid, the documents must be signed in the presence of two or more witnesses. The witnesses must also meet certain requirements: they must be at least 18 years old, cannot be related to you by blood or marriage, cannot be an heir to any portion of your estate, and cannot be directly responsible for your medical care expenses.
Fill out your Advance directives before you come ill, or have a serious accident. You are not required by law to have an advance directive. However, it is a good way to guarantee that your wishes are followed regarding medical care. If you become incapacitated and you have no Living Will, and your doctor and your family disagree about treatment, your health care decisions may have to be made in a court of law.
For advance directive forms for the State of Wisconsin visit: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov