Seattle Advance Health Care Directive

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A Washington advance healthcare directive allows you to make important decisions about your future health care, so your physicians know what you want if you aren’t able to tell them in the moment.

What is an Advance Health Care Directive?

An advance healthcare directive, as the name suggests, is a document in which you provide advance instructions for your medical care. In Washington, the scope of and requirements for this directive are included in the state’s Natural Death Act

The advance directive isn’t intended to provide complete instructions for your medical care. If you are incapacitated, most decisions will fall to your healthcare agent. If you don’t have a medical power of attorney, those decisions will be made by the family member designated by law to make such decisions.

Rather, the advance directive allows you to provide instructions regarding life-sustaining care in the event of an irreversible, terminal condition. The instructions you provide in a properly executed advance directive are presumed conclusive under Washington law, meaning that neither your family nor your healthcare agent can override your wishes.

An Advance Health Care Directive can be Revoked at Anytime

Like most legal documents, an advance healthcare directive can be revoked at any time. You can replace your advance directive with a new document containing different instructions, or you can simply revoke the directive and no longer have one in effect. 

In fact, you can revoke an advance healthcare directive even if you lack the mental capacity to legally execute most documents. The decision will be yours for as long as you are able to voice your wishes. You can even revoke an advance directive by simply telling the treating physician that you want to revoke it, though it is obviously better to use a more formal method if you have the option.

Advance Health Care Directive and Health Care Power of Attorney

While an advance directive addresses the high-level end-of-life issues, it’s not sufficient to address all of the medical decisions that may be necessary if you’re incapacitated. That’s why a healthcare directive is typically coupled with a healthcare power of attorney (POA). A healthcare POA grants a trusted person of your choosing the authority to make medical decisions if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. An experienced Washington estate planning lawyer can explain in more detail how these two documents work together, and discuss how to choose the right person to serve as your healthcare agent. 

Consult a Seattle Estate Planning Attorney

At Harbor Law Firm, we know how important estate planning is. That’s why we make it as easy as possible for you to gather the information you need and take steps to protect yourself and your family. That means: 

  • Knowledgeable guidance customized to your circumstances and your goals
  • A fully remote process that never requires you to leave home
  • Early morning, evening, and weekend hours to fit your schedule
  • An adaptable process for exchanging documents and collaborating
  • Flat-rate pricing that ensures you’ll never be surprised by a legal bill

We also offer free consultations. Schedule yours right now.

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