What Does Texas Require for An Advance Directive or Living Will?

Contracts, Estate Planning

Having a well-considered Texas advance healthcare directive in place is an important element of your estate plan. The experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law have the compassion, drive, and legal insight to help.

People are often confused by estate planning tools, such as the Texas Health and Human Services explanation of advance directives (or living wills). Still, the idea behind them is to direct –in advance –how critical healthcare decisions will be made if you are unable to make them on your own. Having a Texas advance healthcare directive in place can play an essential role in your estate planning efforts –providing you with the peace of mind that comes from thoroughly addressing your future potential healthcare needs. The understanding and experienced estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law in Texas (512-505-2753) are well-positioned to help.

The Four Basic Categories of Advance Directives in Texas

In the State of Texas, there are four basic categories of advance healthcare directives, and your estate plan can incorporate as many or as few as you require, depending upon your unique needs and circumstances.

Medical Power of Attorney

With a medical power of attorney (medical POA), you can assign an agent who will make critical medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself, such as if you become incapacitated.

Declaration of Medical Health Treatment

With a declaration of medical health treatment, you specify that a court must determine whether or not you are incapacitated and, thus, when this directive goes into effect. With this declaration of medical health treatment, you can decline consent to the use of psychoactive drugs and/or to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This declaration expires after three years (unless you are incapacitated at that time) and must be reimplemented if you require it to continue.

Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates (or Living Will)

With a directive to physicians and family or surrogates, also called a living will, you can specify your preferences regarding the provision, withdrawal, and/or withholding of specific kinds of medical care if you face a terminal or irreversible medical condition.

Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order

An out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate order allows you the ability to refuse specific life-sustaining treatments in non-hospital settings in which medical professionals are called in to assist with the provision of health care, such as in outpatient facilities and emergency rooms.

Helping to Ensure that Your Wishes Are Implemented

The primary components of ensuring that your Texas advance healthcare directive is implemented according to your wishes include:

  • Understanding your options as they relate to advance directives
  • Implementing the suitable options for you
  • Sharing your wishes with your loved ones and healthcare providers

The dedicated Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law can help you carefully address your healthcare directive needs following your preferences.

Setting up Your Advance Healthcare Directive

To fully address your healthcare directive needs, you will likely require a living will and a medical POA, often called a healthcare proxy. Both require that two witnesses sign off on them, and one of these witnesses cannot be any of the following:

  • The person whom you have appointed as the document’s agent
  • Someone related to you by marriage or blood
  • Someone who is a beneficiary of any part of your estate
  • Your attending physician (or an employee of your attending physician)
  • Anyone who has a claim against any part of your estate
  • Anyone who is involved in providing you with direct care

Advance Directives: Your Legal Rights

Texas advance healthcare directives are put in place to help ensure that all of the following are true (for all competent adults who are at least 18 years old):

  • That you have the right to make your own healthcare decisions following your values, beliefs, and preferences
  • That you have the right to choose what medical care to accept, reject, or discontinue (per your preferences)
  • That you have the right to name someone to step in and make important healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so

Regardless of what your wishes are based upon (your religious beliefs, values, basic preferences, or anything else), it is your right to have them respected. Still, you will need to take the appropriate legal steps to make sure that they are.

Choosing an Agent for Your Medical POA

Choosing the right agent –or the person who will ensure that your stated healthcare preferences are carried out –is a critical component of your Texas advanced healthcare directive, and it is essential to give the matter considerable forethought. While the decision to name your spouse may seem like an obvious choice, you need to carefully consider whether or not having to make life-or-death decisions that comport with your wishes –but that may not align with the choices they would make (given the option) –it may be too much to ask. Ultimately, you want to choose someone whom you trust implicitly and who will be comfortable making difficult healthcare decisions on your behalf if it becomes necessary.

Consult with a Dedicated Texas Estate Planning Attorney Today

Your Texas advance healthcare directive is a critical element of your estate plan, and the trusted estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law in Texas have a wealth of impressive experience helping clients like you address these matters head-on –with confidence and purpose that comes from having professional legal guidance. Healthcare decisions are a very personal matter that you should not lose the power to direct due to a lack of foresight. Our compassionate legal team understands how overwhelming issues related to estate planning can be, and we are here to help you through every step of the journey. To learn more about what we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.