Denver Living Wills and Advance Directives Attorney

A living will or advance directive empowers your loved ones to carry out your end-of-life wishes regarding health care. This estate planning device is yet another opportunity for you to make things as easy as possible for those you care about most. At Colorado Estate Planning Law Center, we can help formulate a living will that meets your unique needs, serves your family’s interests, and explicitly states your wishes for end-of-life issues. Contact our Denver living wills and advance directives attorney to arrange an initial consultation. Call (303) 420-2863.

What Is the Difference Between a Living Will and an Advance Directive?

In Colorado, an advance directive is a document of written instructions for your end-of-life healthcare wishes. A living will also be referred to as a Declaration As To Medical Treatment, is a specific type of advance directive. It is a legal document that tells your loved ones and doctors what you want to be done if you are in a position where you become incapacitated or are unable to communicate your wishes. It relates to artificial life-saving support measures and other treatment protocols. A living will is one of the four main types of advance directives in Colorado. The four main types are a living will, durable medical power of attorney, a medical order for scope of treatment, and a CPR directive.

What Is a CPR Directive?

CPR is used to restart your heart when it stops beating. A CPR directive informs doctors how, if, and when you want CPR to be administered and if you want an electric shock to be delivered in an attempt to restart your heart. It is similar to a do-not-resuscitate order.

When Does a Living Will Go Into Effect in Colorado?

In Colorado, your living will go into effect 48 hours after two doctors determine that you have a terminal condition and are unable to speak for yourself, or you are in a vegetative state that they believe is persistent. The doctors both have to put their determination in writing. Once in effect, the doctors will be guided by the document as to what kind of life-saving measures you want them to take and what steps you don’t want them to take.

Who Do I Give My Living Will or Advance Directives to?

Once you’ve created this vital document, it’s essential that someone else knows about it and is aware of what your wishes are. You need to make sure that you have a medical or healthcare power of attorney so that there is an appointee to help make the decisions you want to be made. Once you’ve appointed a power of attorney and have created a living will and other advance directives, you should take the following steps:

  • Keep the original document somewhere safe and protected but easily accessible
  • Make sure the person named in the power of attorney knows your wishes and knows where the original document is located.
  • Talk to other family members about your wishes so everyone knows what you want done.
  • Carry a card in your wallet indicating that you have advance directives. It should include your healthcare power of attorney’s name and contact information and should include the location of where a copy of your living well or directives can be located
  • Keep a copy with you anytime you are traveling

What Goes in a Denver, Colorado Living Will?

There are many instructions that can go in this document. Some of the main terms you might include will deal with the kind of treatment you wish or do not wish to receive. The following is a list of common scenarios that are addressed in a living will:

  • Mechanical ventilation. A mechanical ventilator controls your breathing when you are unable to breathe on your own. You need to consider if you want this device to be used if you cannot breathe on your own, and if so, how long you would wish to remain on a mechanical ventilator.
  • Tube feeding. Tube feeding supplies your body with the necessary fluids and nutrients, either intravenously or through a tube in the stomach. You will need to determine if you want to be tube-fed, and if so, how long you want to be fed in this way before you want treatment to stop.
  • Dialysis. Dialysis is a mechanism that removes waste from your blood and helps your kidneys when they are no longer functioning. You need to determine if you would want these treatments, and for how long they should continue.
  • Antibiotics or antiviral medications. These medications are used to treat infections. If you are incapacitated and can’t make a decision, it’s important to put in your living will your wishes regarding receiving these medications. Would you prefer to receive aggressive treatment or just let the infection run its course?
  • Palliative care. This includes treatment interventions that are intended to keep you comfortable and manage your pain. Do you want to receive pain medication? Do you want to be put in hospice, or just be sent home to live out the rest of your life? Do you wish to avoid any invasive tests or treatments? These are all things that should be addressed.
  • Donating your body. Another issue that is commonly addressed in a living will is whether you wish to donate your body for scientific purposes. It could be donated to a medical school or some other type of institution or program. If you wish to make the donation, you should state it explicitly in your living will.

How Can I Change My Living Will?

If you are not incapacitated and can make decisions for yourself, you can change or update your living will at any time. You can do this orally, by sharing your wishes with someone, or by writing the updates you wish to include. Additionally, you can destroy the living will by burning it, tearing it, or through other means, which invalidates the document. In this case, though, you won’t have a living will any longer, and doctors and your loved ones may not be aware of your wishes.

If you want to update your living will, it’s always best to contact an attorney and have them make the changes to it in writing. You can certainly share your wishes orally with your loved ones, but this document is far too important to leave to someone’s memory. It should be saved as a legal notarized document, with witnesses at its signing.

How Often Should I Review Or Change My Living Will or Advance Directives?

It’s a good idea to review any advance directives or living will regularly. Many legal experts suggest every 5-10 years, or whenever there are any significant changes in your life. For example, if you get married, divorced, or receive a new diagnosis, it’s a good idea to make sure everything is up to date and that your wishes are clearly stated.

Do I have to Use a Denver Living Wills Lawyer?

You don’t have to have a lawyer create a living will for you, but it’s always the best choice. Our experienced Arvada estate planning attorneys have been assisting people in creating living wills throughout their entire careers. Critical legal documents must be executed correctly and in accordance with all laws and regulations. Otherwise, you run the risk of the document being invalid. There are rules about the number of witnesses you need and who those witnesses can be. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you with all of these requirements.

Our Denver Living Wills and Advance Directives Attorneys Can Help

Taking responsibility now will spare your loved ones needless confusion and debate over how your health care and legal affairs should be handled. A living will gives them both legal and moral support to carry out your wishes regarding artificial life-sustaining procedures and other end-of-life issues.

We are a full-service estate planning law firm in Colorado. We handle both large and small estates with personalized counseling and design. We prepare, draft, and review living wills customized to our client’s desires. Come to our law firm Colorado Estate Planning Law Center for an initial consultation. We know you will appreciate the atmosphere of comfort, candor, confidence, and confidentiality we encourage. Contact us so we can listen and start learning about you and your needs right away. Our number is (303) 420-2863.