When you can’t speak for yourself, choose who will speak for you. The first thing they will ask your loved ones in an emergency is: where is the Power of Attorney? We call them Mandates in Louisiana, so be sure you have the right form because stuff on the internet is generally null and void in Louisiana.
In Louisiana, your written directions for end of life care are called your Living Will. 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. Both documents are considered Advance Directives.
Healthcare planning is the important process of discussing values and goals of care, executing legal documents, such as Advance Directives, and appointing someone to speak for you when you are unable to do so yourself.
All healthcare facilities that receive federal funding must ask if you have Advance Directives, and, if you do, they must be placed in your medical chart. This way you know your wishes must be followed.
Affordable Fixed Pricing
Field Law charges an affordable fixed price for Advanced Directives, Living Wills, and Healthcare Mandates. We recommend you talk to three lawyers before hiring someone to handle a Succession. Field Law should be one of them. Here’s why:
- We start with a convenient no-obligation Free Attorney Consultation, either in person or on the phone.
- We focus on Estate Planning so you know you are getting our full attention.
- Our Living Wills and Mandates are customized to fit your situation.
- We keep copies of your documents so can always stop-by to get another one – free of charge.
- You never pay extra for asking question at Field Law – like with typical hourly billing at other firms.
- We work hard to streamline the process to avoid unnecessary fees and costs.
You have the right to give instructions about your healthcare. You also have the right to name someone else to make healthcare decisions for you. Louisiana law states “all persons have the fundamental right to control the decisions relating to their own medical care.” To this end, the law provides that:
In order that the rights of such persons may be respected even after they are no longer able to participate actively in decisions concerning themselves, the legislature hereby declares that the laws of the state of Louisiana shall recognize:
(a) The right of such a person to make a declaration instructing his physician to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining procedures or designating another to make the treatment decision and make such a declaration for him, in the event he is diagnosed as having a terminal and irreversible condition; and
(b) The right of certain individuals to make a declaration pursuant to which life- sustaining procedures may be withheld or withdrawn from an adult patient who is comatose, incompetent, or otherwise physically or mentally incapable of communication, or from a minor, in the event such adult patient or minor is diagnosed and certified as having a terminal and irreversible condition.
See La. R.S. 40:1299.58.1(A)(3).
Living Will vs. Healthcare Mandate
The Living Will is used if you are in a continual profound comatose state or are terminally ill. It also only affects life-sustaining procedures.
The Mandate allows you to appoint an agent to make all medical decisions in the event you become incapacitated. The Mandate is broader and gives your agent the authority to respond to unanticipated medical situations.
A Healthcare Mandate (Power of Attorney) is a legal document by which you authorize another person (an agent) to make healthcare decisions in the event you become temporarily or permanently unable to make those decisions yourself. These can include healthcare decisions concerning surgery, medical expenses, nursing home residency and medication administration.
A Healthcare Mandate does not apply to financial and property decisions. You will need a separate Durable General Mandate for those situations.
You may appoint any competent adult to be your agent. You should make sure the person you select has an understanding of your wishes and is comfortable accepting the responsibility. Your agent may be a family member, close friend or advisor you trust to make serious decisions. It is usually best to avoid appointing a treating healthcare provider as your agent in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest. Your agent can resign at any time upon giving written notice to you, your doctor or the healthcare facility where you are being treated, so it is important to name a backup agent as well.
Your agent will have the authority to make life and death decisions for you according to your wishes. Make sure that the person you pick is willing to be your agent.
Immediate or Delayed Effect
Your agent may exercise the powers you grant them throughout your lifetime, even after you become incapacitated, unless you expressly limit the duration of these powers, you revoke these powers or a court acting on your behalf terminates your agent’s authority.
Immediately – If your mandate becomes effective immediately, your agent will be able to act on your behalf in your absence, such as calling to discuss your medical records (including medical bills) with a doctor, pharmacist, hospital or insurance company. You do not give up any of your rights when granting a mandate. As long as you are able, you will make all the decisions.
Springing – Your Mandate can also become effective only when you are temporarily or permanently unable to make your own decisions regarding your personal and financial affairs. This is called a springing Mandate. If your treating physician determines you have regained the capacity to make your own healthcare decisions after the Mandate becomes effective, your agent’s authority ends and your consent is required for all future decisions. If you become incapacitated again, the Mandate will once again become effective.
Your Mandate will be Durable. This means it will remain in effect until your death (unless you revoke it), even in the event of incapacitation. Although Louisiana calls this document a Mandate, it is called a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions in other states and under federal law. This Mandate is written to be valid and effective while you are traveling in the United States.
A Living Will, also known as a Declaration, allows you to state your wishes about the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures in the event you become terminally and irreversibly ill and can no longer speak for yourself. It also allows your wishes concerning organ donation to be known.
Terminal and Irreversible Condition
A terminal and irreversible condition is defined as a continual profound comatose state (with no reasonable chance of recovery) or an incurable condition caused by injury, disease or illness for which, within reasonable judgment, the administration of medical treatment or intervention would only prolong the dying process.
A life-sustaining procedure is any medical procedure or treatment that prolongs the dying process and does not cure or improve the terminal and irreversible condition. Some examples of life-sustaining procedures include the administration of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), machines that perform the function of breathing for you (ventilators), and invasive administration of food and water. A “life-sustaining procedure” does not include any measure that is necessary to provide comfort care.