During the course of a lifetime, we make millions of decisions. Many of those decisions are relatively unimportant; however, some of them change the direction of our lives. We all take the ability to make life-altering decisions for granted. What happens, however, if you suddenly become incapacitated and are unable to make life-altering decisions for yourself? Who would you want to make those decisions for you? What decisions would you want that person to make? You likely have some rather strong thoughts on the matter; however, unless you have executed a Texas Advanced Directive your opinions may not matter.
Just as you probably don’t want to think about your own death, you may not want to think about the possibility of your own incapacity. Incapacity can strike though, to anyone at any time. If you suddenly become incapacitated as a result of a catastrophic accident or a debilitating medical condition or disease important decisions will have to be made about your healthcare. A decision might have to be made regarding life sustaining treatment, for example. You may have strong feelings on the subject but you will be unable to express those feelings. The only way to ensure that your wishes will be honored is through an Advanced Directive.
Likewise, you may wish a specific person to be your voice should you be unable to speak for yourself. Whether that person is your spouse, adult child, parent, or best friend, you likely want to ensure that the person of your choice is given the legal right to make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to make them yourself. Again, and Advanced Directive is the only way to be certain your wish will be honored.
In Texas, several Advanced Directives may be executed. A Declaration for Mental Health Treatment allows you to make treatment decisions relating to mental health treatment, specifically psychoactive medication, convulsive therapy and emergency mental health treatment. A Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates Form allows you to express your wishes regarding medical treatment in advance. Finally, a Medical Power of Attorney Form permits you to appoint an agent who will have the legal authority to make decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself.
Without Advance Directives, your family and loved ones could end up in a lengthy court battle over the right to be your agent and/or the right to allow/disallow specific treatments if you are incapacitated at some point in the future.
Contact your Texas estate planning attorney as soon as possible to discuss the creation of your Advance Directives.