Health Care Proxies/ Living Wills
What is a living will? A living will is the common term for a document in which a person expresses the types of health care treatment the person would or would not consent to in the event they were not able to make or convey those choices.
Is a living will binding in Massachusetts? A living will is not binding in Massachusetts. Massachusetts does not have a law necessitating hospitals or health care providers to comply with the directions included in a living will. But a living will can give useful direction to a health care provider or court that is trying to make a health care choice on a person’s behalf.
Why is a living will important? A living will may be important as it can provide direction and decrease confusion during a challenging medical emergency by spelling out a person’s wishes on the utilization of feeding tubes and treatments that might be needed to prolong a person’s life. A living will might have the beneficial effect of comforting loved ones and reduce the chances of division among family members over whether medical procedures should or should not be taken.
Massachusetts does have a law regarding health care proxies. A health care proxy is a document that allows an appointed health care agent to make medical decisions for an incapacitated person. Although a living will and a health care proxy are similar there are important differences that can be explored with a licensed attorney.
Please contact Attorney Rob McCarthy to schedule a consultation regarding any matter concerning a Massachusetts Health Care Proxy and Living Will.