All adults in Texas retain the sole right to make decisions concerning their medical care and health. In fact, doctors and other medical providers cannot provide treatment without properly informing patients about the treatment and the potential risks involved.
However, situations can arise where you are not able to make proper decisions about your health. This can be due to the onset of a serious illness, like dementia, or situations where you are left unconscious. In these cases, it is best to have an advanced health directive in place, called a living will.
Living wills in Houston inform healthcare providers about what kind of medical care you want, should you be unable to communicate your desires. Medical providers have an obligation under the law to follow these directives, and not even family members can override these documents. Our experienced attorneys can help you put together an effective living will that accurately reflects your wishes.
Understanding Advanced Health Directive
Many estate planning documents make provisions for what will happen after a person’s death. However, they can also serve as a way to retain control during difficult times in one’s life. This is the case with living wills.
A living will is a legally binding document that informs medical providers in Houston about a person’s wishes for medical care. Doctors who receive valid living wills must adhere to the language in the document.
State law provides a template for these documents. Texas Health & Safety Code § 166.033 contains exact language that meets the legal requirements for an effective living will. In addition, TX Health & Safety Code § 166.032 states that any competent adult may create these documents at any time. Furthermore, the creator must sign the document in the presence of either two witnesses or a notary public. We can work with individuals to create living wills that clearly state their intent for future medical care and that meet the state’s formation requirements.
When Do Living Wills Go into Effect?
It can be helpful to imagine a living will as a protective document. People create these documents to inform medical providers about their wishes for care should they be unable to do so themselves.
Because of this, living wills have no legal effect if a patient is able to properly comprehend what a doctor is telling them and give an informed response. It is only when a physical or mental condition progresses to the point that this communication is impossible that a living will has any legal power. Additionally, the creator of a living will may rescind the document at any time as long as they have the intent and mental capacity to do so. Reach out to our team today to discover more about the potential legal impact of living wills in Houston.
Learn More About Living Wills from a Houston Attorney
Every person has the absolute right to make their own choices concerning the medical care that they receive. This could include whether they want to be on life support or receive experimental treatment.
If situations arise where you are no longer able to make these decisions on your own, the most efficient way to see that your wishes are met is to include a living will in your estate plan. When properly created, these documents inform doctors about your medical care wishes and exclude all others from making these choices on your behalf. If you have more questions about living wills in Houston, reach out to Hegwood Law Group today to learn more.