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According to Texas Health and Human Services, these health care directives are available in the state:

  • Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Appointment for Disposition of Remains
  • Declaration for Mental Health Treatment

Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate OrderEach form is unique and covers different types of scenarios. An attorney can help you understand what forms are right for you and your situation. 

A health care directive may include information about:

  • The types of care you would and would not want to receive, such as dialysis, tube feeding, mechanical ventilation, CPR, and palliative care
  • How long you would like to allow these medical treatments to be administered
  • Whether or not you wish to be an organ donor or even donate your body to science

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 70% of people in the U.S. do not have any health care directive in place. Without a directive, your next of kin may make important decisions that you would not agree with. These choices could impact your quality of life, your lifespan, and where you would reside if you couldn’t take care of yourself.

HOW DOES A HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE WORK?

After a serious accident or illness, you may not be able to make decisions for yourself. That’s when the instructions in your directive would dictate what kind of health care you receive. Most health care directives require you to choose an individual who will be in charge of your care. That role may be called an agent, surrogate, or power of attorney. 

Your agent should be someone you trust to make decisions according to your detailed wishes. This person must be able to handle stressful situations and not bow down to pressure from others. 

WHO NEEDS A HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE?

Anyone who is 18 years of age and older should consider a health care directive. You never know when an accident or serious illness could strike.

Younger adults. Many people in their late teens and 20s are in the prime of their lives. While young adults may feel invincible, they are not. Persons between the ages of 16 and 30 are more likely to experience a traumatic spinal cord injury. 

Middle-aged adults. As people enter middle age, many will have spouses and children. A health care directive saves your loved ones from the burden of making difficult decisions without your input.

Older adults. Some elderly people may not want to prolong their life with medical care if it means poor quality of life. However, everyone defines “quality of life” differently. 

DO I NEED A LAWYER ?

While you are not required to have a lawyer assist you with a health care directive, there are many benefits to seeking legal counsel. 

A lawyer will ensure that witness requirements are met.

In Texas, some health care directives must be signed by two witnesses. These forms may require that the witnesses meet certain criteria. For example, they cannot be an heir to your estate, nor can they be related to you by blood or through marriage. If these requirements are not met, your health care directive may be declared null and void. 

A lawyer can pinpoint conflicts of interest.

For many people, a health care directive is part of their estate planning. A lawyer will make sure that all of your legal documents fit together, without any gaps or conflicts. 

A lawyer can offer insight into your choice of agent.

Who you select to make decisions for you is a personal decision. The choice is yours and yours alone. A lawyer has seen many  directive scenarios play out. They can offer insight into who may or may not be the best choice to take on this responsibility.

A lawyer will ensure that all documents are legally binding.

Someone at your hospital may hand you health care directive forms. But are these forms accurate and up-to-date? Websites may not have the most recent information, either. A health care directive lawyer knows what the current laws are. You will have peace of mind that these important forms are legally binding. 

A lawyer can help you do updates. 

You can make changes to these documents at any time. You can also change who your agent is. Many people review their health care directives when they experience a life change such as a marriage, divorce, or a new diagnosis.

We know that it is difficult to think about being incapacitated. But not having a health care directive in place can mean stress, hardship, and conflicts for your loved ones. 

A Houston Lawyer Here To Support You

Whenever you find yourself needing to reach out to our office, you can be sure you won’t need to wait for hours or days in order to get a response. Here at Stafford Law Firm, we pride ourselves on being easily accessible and on responding to all client inquiries as soon as possible.

The fact of the matter is, one day you will need to fall back on your estate plan. Whether it will simply be to pass on your family’s wealth after you pass, or something even more heartbreaking like needing a new guardian appointment for your children, having a thorough and customized plan in place will help make sure your family and your future are well taken care of. This plan will likely need to include a health care directive, and you can rest easy knowing that an experienced Houston Health Care Directive Lawyer has your best interests at heart. 

Schedule your free consultation right away to discuss your health care directive and other estate planning needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

A health care directive will need to contain different documents depending on your specific needs. These documents serve to identify the following:

  • Who will make decisions on your behalf
  • Your detailed wishes regarding the use and duration of medical care

There are multiple types of documents that are considered advance directives. Some of the most common include:

  • Living will
  • Durable medical power of attorney
  • Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
  • Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)