Advance directives are legal documents that outline your preferences regarding medical treatments or appoint someone to act on your behalf in making medical decisions. These documents are called “advance” directives because they are prepared beforehand to ensure that your healthcare providers know your wishes regarding medical care.

However, while these documents are critical to have, many individuals fail to discuss this matter with their loved ones or review their options with an experienced Louisiana estate planning attorney to determine if having an advance directive is the right decision for them. 

advanced directive paperwork

The Different Types of Advance Directives

In Louisiana, the two most common types of advance directives include:

  • A living will, also referred to as a declaration and
  • A healthcare power of attorney

A Living Will

living will, also known as a “declaration,” is a document that directs the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures in the event that an adult person has a terminal and irreversible condition. The declaration can be in writing, or it can be made orally or non-verbally.

For the living will to become effective, there are three conditions that need to be met:

  • The medical care provider has a copy of the living will
  • The individual’s doctor and one other physician have determined that the individual is no longer able to make their own decisions regarding their health and medical treatments and
  • The doctor and another physician have decided that the individual is in a continual, profound, comatose state or has a terminal and irreversible condition.

A Medical Power of Attorney

In Louisiana, a medical power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual or organization to make medical care and healthcare decisions for another person. This document authorizes the designated person or organization to make decisions when the individual is unable to do so themselves. It can give them the power to consent or refuse medical treatment or procedures on behalf of the individual.

What Are the Differences Between a Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Will?

A living will becomes effective only when a person’s condition is terminal and irreversible. It requires individuals to consider their future circumstances and indicate their preferences for medical care well in advance, even before they know what medical issues they may face.

On the other hand, a healthcare power of attorney allows individuals to select an agent or entity that will make decisions about their healthcare when they are unable to do so. This enables individuals to have some control over unexpected situations by choosing someone they trust to act on their behalf.

Plan for Your Future, Contact Losavio & DeJean, LLC Today

Unfortunately, we cannot predict what tomorrow has in store for us. There are so many variables that are beyond our control. However, we can take control of some things. When we plan for the unexpected, we can minimize some of the negative consequences of a disaster or end-of-life care.

That is why if you want more information about advanced directives in Louisiana, contact Losavio & DeJean, LLC today. Our skilled legal professionals can review your questions, go over your concerns, and help you create a plan that will work for you and your family.