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Do Elders Need to Include Advance Directives in an Estate Plan?

 Posted on November 07, 2022 in Estate Planning

san antonio estate planning lawyerWhen a person reaches an advanced age, they will want to make sure their needs will be met and that they will receive the proper medical care if they cannot make decisions for themselves. These issues can be addressed through advance directives, which are an important part of estate planning for elders. Advance directives are legal documents that allow a person to specify their wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event that they become incapacitated and are unable to communicate their wishes to others.

Types of Advance Directives Addressed in Texas Law

There are several types of advance directives that can be included in a Texas estate plan, including:

  • Medical Power of Attorney - This document will designate someone who will be authorized to make healthcare decisions on behalf of an elder in the event that they become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for themselves. This person is known as a healthcare agent. The agent can consent to or refuse medical treatment on an elder's behalf, including life-sustaining treatment. An elder can give their agent as much or as little power as they want, and they can specify what types of treatments the agent can and cannot consent to or refuse. 

  • Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates - This document is also known as a living will, and it instructs physicians and family members about the kind of medical treatment an elder does or does not want to receive if they become terminally ill or permanently unconscious. In a living will, an elder may express general wishes about the use of life-sustaining procedures, such as whether or not they want to receive artificial nutrition and hydration (feeding tubes), mechanical ventilation, etc. An elder may also use a living will to provide specific instructions regarding the use of these procedures under different circumstances. A living will only goes into effect if two physicians confirm that a person is terminally ill and is unable to make their own decisions about medical treatment. 

  • Out-of-Hospital DNR Order - A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order is a legal document that instructs emergency medical personnel not to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a person's heart stops beating or if they stop breathing. First responders and medical personnel will not administer CPR or any other lifesaving measures if there is a DNR order in place. 

  • Declaration for Mental Health Treatment - This document will make decisions about the types of mental health treatment a person should receive if they are incapacitated and unable to make those decisions themselves. A person can provide instructions regarding medications, electroconvulsive treatment, and other forms of emergency mental health care.

Contact Our San Antonio Elder Law Attorneys

Advance directives are an important part of estate planning for elders. These directives can ensure that a person will receive the proper care if they become incapacitated, and family members will be able to make sure their wishes will be followed correctly. At The Law Office of Ryan C. Moe, PLLC, we can advise you on the best way to use advance directives in your estate plan, and we will ensure that all documents are created and executed correctly. To set up a consultation with our San Antonio, TX estate planning lawyers, call our office today at 210-861-6000.


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