Texas law allows any mentally competent adult, by signing a legal document known as a Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates, to provide advance instructions to his or her physician to withhold or withdraw artificial life-sustaining medical procedures in the event that the patient is diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible medical condition that is incurable, as well as their wishes on pain management and organ donation. This type of legal document is commonly referred to as a “living will”.
By outlining these detailed directions in the living will, the patient can inform healthcare providers of their wishes concerning the use or non-use of life-sustaining medical interventions in situations involving a terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness. This provides a way for competent adults in Texas to control decisions about their medical care at the end of life.
The main purpose of a living will in Texas is to give clear instructions and directions to healthcare providers regarding the use of artificial life-sustaining procedures if the patient is in one of two conditions:
Texas law lays out specific requirements that must be met to create a legally valid living will document:
Like a guardianship, the living will can also include designating another person to make medical decisions on behalf of the patient if the patient becomes comatose, incompetent, or otherwise mentally or physically incapable of communication. This appointed health care agent should be someone who thoroughly understands the patient’s wishes and preferences for end-of-life care.
Those considering creating a living will are highly encouraged to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure the document is prepared properly according to Texas law and accurately represents the patient’s preferences. It is also advisable to provide a copy of the living will to the patient’s physicians to ensure the directives are understood and followed.
Living wills empower people to make their preferences clear on avoiding unwanted life-sustaining treatments at the end of life. By following the legal requirements, these advance directives can be made fully valid and effective. With proper preparation, you can have peace of mind knowing your end-of-life care wishes will be honored.
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Our Houston Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with living wills. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters.
Disclaimer: The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney.
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