How to Make a Living Will in Texas?
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How to Make a Living Will in Texas?

What are the requirements for making a Living Will in Texas? How are Living Wills different from other documents? This article outlines the purpose of Living Wills and the resources available to begin creating your own! Keep reading to learn more!

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When you are facing terminal or irreversible medical conditions, it's crucial that you proactively plan what medical interventions you do and do not want. Even if you don't currently have a terminal condition, thinking about end-of-life care is helpful. Life doesn't always go according to plan, and unexpected things happen. If you are incapacitated - meaning that you can't communicate your wishes - then your loved ones will have the difficult and stressful task of making decisions on your behalf. The best way to avoid this is to create a Texas Living Will that spells out your decisions directly so that your medical providers and your loved ones do not have to guess about your preferences.This guide to making a Living Will in Texas explains how you can make your preferences known in the event that you can't articulate them yourself.

When Should You Consider an Advanced Directive?

Just about every person in the process of creating a Texas Estate plan would benefit from having some kind of advanced healthcare directive. FastWill recommends that you complete an Advanced Care Directive or Living Will at the same time that you write your Will. However, in some situations, it is especially important. For example, if you are elderly and have been admitted to a hospital, or you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, have an illness that has been known to lead to incapacity or the inability to communicate, or are about to be admitted into a nursing home, you should be sure to leave clear instructions about what you want.

What Are Advanced Care Directives?

An Advanced Care Directive is a legal document that states your preferences for future healthcare decisions in the event that you are unable to make such decisions for yourself. Texas law provides for three types of Advanced Directives that can be used if you are experiencing a serious illness. These are the Living Will, Medical Power of Attorney, and the Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (DNR).

What Situations Are Covered by a Texas Living Will?

A Living Will only applies in limited circumstances. The person who signs it must have an incurable or irreversible medical condition that is terminal. This generally means the condition will result in death within six months, but this is not always the case. A Living Will addresses certain medical treatments that will sustain life. These treatments may include:

● Ventilators
● Heart-lung machines
● Nutrition via a feeding tube
● Hydration through a feeding tube or IV
● Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
● Kidney dialysis

Some people use Living Wills to address other issues common to those with irreversible medical conditions, such as pain management and palliative care. Palliative care is any treatment that focuses on giving the person relief from the symptoms of their illness, improving the person's quality of life. Requirements to Make a Texas Living Will

A Texas Living Will is meant to help you communicate your wishes about medical treatment at a future date in the event that you can't make your wishes known because of illness or injury. Texas Living Wills are regulated by the Texas Advance Directives Act, which can be found at §166.033 of the Health and Safety Code. 

In order to make a Texas Living Will, you must sign the document and have two witnesses who also sign the document. Texas Health & Safety Code Section 166.003 states that the witnesses cannot be any of the following people:

(A) A person designated by the declarant to make a health care or treatment

(B) A person related to the declarant by blood or marriage;

(C) A person entitled to any part of the declarant’s estate after the declarant’s death under a will or codicil executed by the declarant or by operation of law;

(D) The attending physician;

(E) An employee of the attending physician;

(F) An employee of a health care facility in which the declarant is a patient if the employee is providing direct patient care to the declarant or is an officer, director, partner, or business office employee of the health care facility or of any parent organization of the health care facility; or

(G) A person who, at the time the written advance directive is executed or, if the directive is a nonwritten directive issued under this chapter, at the time the nonwritten directive is issued, has a claim against any part of the declarant’s estate after the declarant’s death.

When creating your Texas Living Will, it's a good idea to discuss your preferences with your medical care, family, and other trusted advisers.

Texas Medical Power of Attorney

A Medical Power of Attorney gives another person the right to make healthcare decisions for you. It's easy to confuse a Living Will with a Medical Power of Attorney. The difference is that a Living Will concerns situations where you (i) have an irreversible condition or are terminally ill; and (ii) are unable to communicate about which life-sustaining treatments you want or do not want. A Medical Power of Attorney gives someone the right to make all healthcare decisions on your behalf, regardless of whether you are terminally ill or have an
irreversible condition

Texas Out-of-Hospital DNR

An Out-of-Hospital DNR is a legal form that tells emergency medical professionals that you do not want to start or continue certain procedures. This is used for emergency situations when you are at home, not when you are in a hospital. "Resuscitation" means that you have stopped breathing, and your heart is not beating, and then you are restored to consciousness. When you have an Out-of-Hospital DNR, emergency medical service providers won't use the five procedures listed in the Texas Out-of-Hospital DNR form to revive you.

Make a Texas Living Will in Minutes with FastWill

You can create a fully customized Living Will in Texas by using the FastWill platform. We will walk you through your medical choices and instruct you on how to validate your Texas Living Will. Our system is informed by AI and vetted by Texas estate planning lawyers. Making a Texas Living Will lets you plan for future scenarios with confidence, knowing that your medical preferences will be respected.

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