Advanced Directives

Our law firm offers many services related to estate planning including advanced directives. These forms are important to those with serious illnesses or to those who are likely to be hospitalized in the future. Our attorneys are skilled in drafting these forms and ensure that our clients’ wishes are clear and fulfilled.

The term advanced directives refers to the forms that give the power to make healthcare decisions about the patient to someone other than the patient. They include legal documents that allow a patient to refuse medical treatment, or they can outline the treatment one does want in the event that the patient reaches a state that he or she is unable to make treatment decisions.

In New Jersey, there are several ways to complete an advanced directive and all provide an answer to the question of what decisions should be made about a person who is unable to make them for him or herself. These include:

  • Health Care Proxy Declaration. This statement names a willing and able adult to be your healthcare representative. This person will be given the responsibility of making decisions about your healthcare such as whether or not to provide life-sustaining treatment, in the event that you are unable to make these decisions yourself.
  • Instruction Declaration. This element of an advanced directive, also known as a Living Will, allows a person to plan ahead for the treatment he or she would like to receive, if any, if he or she becomes incapacitated. Your healthcare representative is required to fulfill these wishes to the best of his or her ability, without making decisions for you.
  • Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Directive.This form can be filled out by a patient who does not wish to be revived or kept alive on life support.

These legal documents go into effect when a doctor determines, in writing, that a patient is no longer able to understand the consequences of healthcare decisions and therefore, is mentally or physically unable to make a treatment decision.

It is advised that the person you choose as your healthcare representative be someone you are close with and trust and with whom you have discussed your wishes in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Properly executing advance directives requires the document to be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses over the age of 18 or in that of a notary or attorney. If you have questions about completing these advanced directives, or would like to schedule a consultation, call 1-833-RINALDO, or fill out our contact form.