In a Living Will, you will designate an individual you trust to act as your legally recognized health care representative to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself. You will provide instructions concerning your health care preferences and wishes to your health care representative and others who will be entrusted with responsibility for your care, such as your physician, family members and friends.
All states have declared that competent adults have the fundamental right in collaboration with their health care providers, to control decisions about their own health care. States recognize in their law and public policy, the personal right of the individual patient to make voluntary, informed choices to accept, to reject or to choose among alternative courses of medical and surgical treatment.
Modern advances in science and medicine have made possible the prolongation of the lives of many seriously ill individuals, without always offering realistic prospects for improvement or cure. For some individuals the possibility of extended life is experienced as meaningful and of benefit. For others, artificial prolongation of life may seem to provide nothing medically necessary or beneficial, serving only to extend suffering and extend the dying process. States recognize the inherent dignity and value of human life and within this context recognize the fundamental right of individuals to make health care decisions to have life-prolonging medical or surgical means or procedures provided, withheld or withdrawn.
States recognize the right of competent adults to plan ahead for health care decisions through the execution of advance directives, such as Living Wills and durable powers of attorney and to have their wishes respected, subject to certain limitations.
1. Can my healthcare representative make decisions for me if I am still able to make my own decisions?
Answer: No, your healthcare representative can only make decisions for you if your physician has evaluated you and determined that you are unable to understand your diagnosis, treatment options or the possible benefits and harms of the treatment options.
2. Can having an advance directive affect my life insurance, health insurance or the benefits I receive from a governmental benefits program?
3. Can my life insurance company, health insurance company, physician, hospital, nursing home or any other healthcare facility require me to have an advance directive?
4. Does New Jersey recognize an advance directive that is valid in another state?
5. What is the definition of “life-sustaining treatment?”
Answer: Life sustaining treatment is any medical device or procedure that increases your life expectancy by restoring or taking over a vital bodily function. The medical device or procedure can be a drug, ventilator (breathing machine), surgery, therapy or artificially provided fluids and nutrition.
6. What happens if I regain the ability to make my own decisions?
Answer: In that case, your physician must obtain your consent for all treatment. Once you have the ability to make healthcare decisions, your healthcare representative will no longer have the authority to make decisions for you.
7. Who should have a copy of my advance directive?
Answer: You should give a copy to your primary healthcare representative, alternate healthcare representative(s), family members and physicians. If you are treated at a hospital or enter a nursing home, you should also provide a copy when you are admitted.
Any help you may need or any questions you may have, contact Andrew Prince. He can help you. Call (800) 832-6529 or (732) 388-5454 to speak with Andrew Prince. You can also email Andrew Prince at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax any questions or concerns to:
Andrew S. Prince, Esq.
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