What is an Advance Directive?

Advance directives are often part of a comprehensive estate plan. They can also be drafted and finalized without such a plan in place. What is an advance directive? It is a document that contains written instructions as to the end-of-life procedures you would like to have or not have. These documents are used to implement a plan for how you wish to be medically treated when you are unable to make decisions on your own due to advanced age or illness. An advance directive can also appoint a trusted person to make decisions for you. If you fail to appoint such a person, under Colorado law, your doctor can locate family members or “interested persons” and choose one to act as your agent.

This is important in regard to the kind of medical care you wish to have or not have. For example, you may not wish to prolong life through such life-extending interventions as resuscitation, feeding tubes, or ventilators. These may be rejected for a treatment plan that implements only the reduction of pain and keeping you as comfortable as possible. These instructions will become part of your advance directive.

Need an advance directive or estate plan in Colorado Springs? Reach out to Drexler Law at (719) 259-0050 to schedule a consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys today.

Different Types of Advance Directives in Colorado

In Colorado, you can create an advance directive in various ways as listed below:

  • Through a medical Durable Power of Attorney that allows you to name an agent to make decisions on your behalf. This agent is under an obligation to act according to your direction and values and is given access to your medical records in making those decisions.
  • Through a living will under a “Declaration as to Medical Treatment” that lays out your instructions about life support actions when you are unable to make your wishes known or if you are thrown into a vegetative state. The drawback to a living will is that it fails to name someone to make medical decisions for you when you can’t.
  • Through a Medical Order for Scope of Treatment; this is for someone who is seriously or chronically ill and who must stay in frequent communication with health professionals. These documents lay out specifics on what medical treatments/interventions you wish to have or not have.
  • Through a CPR Directive, which is a cardiopulmonary resuscitation directive that is an order that instructs your medical team to not resuscitate you if your heart stops or breathing ceases. This order is generally made by individuals who are seriously ill and in cases where the use of CPR could do serious harm instead of any benefit to the person.

It is important to know that, in any of the above types of medical documents, they do not act as medical orders to give you drugs to end your life based on the 2016 Colorado medical aid-in-dying law for the terminally ill.

Need an Advance Directive or Estate Plan?

Planning for end-of-life care, a terminal illness, or any other serious medical event is probably not something that you find very comfortable to think about. However, it is highly recommended to be included in your estate plan or as a separate legal matter so that you remain in control of medical decisions should you be unable to voice those decisions yourself.

Providing clear direction to your medical providers and your family gives both you and your family peace of mind, reducing the stress of what to do when an illness, injury, or advance age occur. At Drexler Law, we can ensure that your values and wishes are made clear and codified in the proper legal instrument, whether as part of a comprehensive estate plan or not. Let us use our vast experience and legal skills to ensure that you and your family are fully covered for any future event of this kind.

Want to talk to an experienced attorney about your estate plan or advance directive? Reach out to us at (719) 259-0050 to arrange for a consultation today.