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Virginia Beach Attorneys for Advance Medical Directives

Through an advance medical directive, you can dictate how you would like to be cared for if you become incapacitated and are unable to make medical decisions for yourself. The Virginia Health Care Decisions Act authorizes adults to create medical directives as long as they are mentally competent and meet certain requirements.

If you are preparing your estate plan, we highly recommend including advance medical directives to give your trusted agent and your loved ones clarity on how you would like to be cared for in the event of your incapacitation. Our Virginia Beach estate planning attorneys at Pincus Goodman, P.C., have the skills and experience to help you create a legally valid and enforceable document and ensure that your wishes are properly carried out. Contact our office at (757) 301-9634 for a consultation.

What Is an Advance Medical Directive Used For?

Through an advance medical directive, you can put your medical wishes in writing so that others, including your agent and doctor, know how you would like to be cared for. Advance medical directives can be used to: 

  • Specify the types of medical care you want to receive. For instance, you can direct your physician to provide a specific treatment or operation, such as inserting a feeding tube.
  • Clarify which types of medical care you would like to be withheld.
  • Designate an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are not mentally competent enough to do so.
  • Leave instructions regarding organ and tissue donation if you pass away.

Without an advance medical directive, it will be up to your physicians and loved ones to determine whether you should continue receiving medical care. This can lead to conflict between family members and doctors who believe that you should remain on life support and those who believe that further medical care would not be helpful and should be withheld. If parties cannot come to an agreement, a court may need to intervene and make a decision on your behalf. You can help your family avoid bitter disputes by creating an advance medical directive that makes all of your desires clear.

Requirements for Establishing an Advance Medical Directive

To establish a written advance medical directive in Virginia Beach, you must sign the document in the presence of two witnesses. Directives, once signed and completed, may be submitted to the Advance Health Care Directive Registry.

Patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness are permitted to make an oral advance medical directive by stating the types of care they would like to receive as well as the types of care they want to be withheld. They can also orally designate an agent to make medical decisions on their behalf if, at some point, they become incapable of making their own decisions. For an oral advance directive to be legally valid and enforceable, it must be made in the presence of two witnesses and the declarant’s physician.

Once an advance medical directive has been established, it is the declarant’s responsibility to notify their physician and ensure that their doctor, agent, and others have the ability to access the information included in the directive.

Contact a Virginia Beach Estate Planning Attorney Today

At Pincus Goodman, P.C., we can help you with all of your estate planning needs, including creating an advance medical directive. Our knowledgeable Virginia Beach estate planning attorneys will help ensure that your directives are properly submitted to the registry, legally valid, and enforceable. Reach out to our office by calling (757) 301-9634 today to discuss your goals. 

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