Making Your Plan for Medical Care Now
Essential Advance Directives
Louisiana law states “all persons have the fundamental right to control the decisions relating to their own medical care.” Planning for your healthcare is the important process of discussing values and goals of care, executing legal documents such as Advance Directives, and appointing an agent to speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself.
Your doctor’s office will ask if you have Advance Directives, and, if you do, they will put a copy in your medical chart. This way you know your wishes must be followed even if you are transferred for treatment to another facility.
Both a Living Will Declaration and a Healthcare Mandate are considered Advance Directives.
Living Will Declaration
In Louisiana, your written directions for end of life care are called your Living Will. This is sometimes called a Living Will Declaration or Living Declaration. It is used if you are in a continual profound comatose state or are terminally ill. It also only affects life-sustaining procedures – not routine medical procedures.
If you name a healthcare agent, you will also have a separate document, a Healthcare Mandate (Power of Attorney), which authorizes your agent to enforce your healthcare directions. The mandate is broader than the Living Will and allows you to appoint an agent with the authority to make important medical decisions when you are unable to do so yourself.
A Healthcare Mandate is a legal document where you authorize another person – your healthcare agent – to make healthcare decisions in the event you become temporarily or permanently unable to make those decisions yourself. Your agent can make decisions concerning medication, treatment, surgery, your health insurance and HSA account. It is also often used by your agent to access HIPAA protected information.
Interdiction without a Power of Attorney
If you don’t have a power of attorney and become incapacitated, a strenuous interdiction proceeding must be filed in court, where the costly proceedings are public record. The purpose of the interdiction process is to have the judge declare you incompetent and appoint someone to handle your affairs for you, called your curator.
This procedure can be both time-consuming and costly, but it can very easily be avoided by executing a power of attorney while you are still healthy and have the capacity to do so.
Powers of Attorney can be springing – meaning they don’t take effect until you are incapacitated – so you can get a power of attorney now to ensure you don’t have to go through interdiction later.
Contact Us For A Free Initial Consultation
Field Law is based in Baton Rouge, but we serve clients throughout Louisiana. We are also pleased to work with clients outside the state on matters related to Louisiana estate law and successions. To arrange a free consultation, call us at 225-341-8221, or send us an email.