Whenever I have a client come in for a consultation for estate planning, one of the things they rarely consider before-hand is what will happen if they are rendered incapacitated and in need of help making healthcare decisions. This article will discuss the Living Will under the South Carolina Death with Dignity Act and the South Carolina Healthcare Proxy form.
The Declaration for a Desire of a Natural Death, or “Living Will’, is a form that states that if you are deemed to be in a terminal condition by at least two physicians, and they determine that your death would occur in a reasonably short period of time id life support and artificial nutrition and hydration not be provided, that these life sustaining procedures not be used to prolong your dying. The same would occur if you were in a persistent vegetative state or state of permanent unconsciousness. It would also include and individual who can enforce this directive on your behalf.
The South Carolina Healthcare Proxy form is different in that it does not assume that you are terminal, but rather, in a state of temporary incapacity. In this form you would name an individual (and two alternate agents) who can make and document all healthcare decisions on your behalf. These decisions run the gamut from allowing different types of medication and procedures to the admission and discharge from different types of healthcare facilities.
There are certain advance directives that you can make in this form that would take the decision-making authority out of your agent’s hands. You can agree to tissue donation or refuse tube feeding for instance. This form will incorporate, by reference, your living will if you have one. Therefore, anything in your healthcare proxy that contradicts your living will will be invalidated and your living will will take precedence.
These forms are relatively inexpensive and are usually included in any will package I prepare for a nominal fee. Please contact today for a free consultation to discuss your will and estate planning alternatives.
Dennis J. DiSabato, Jr.
The Law Office of Dennis J. DiSabato, Jr., LLC
3888 Renee Drive, Suite 201
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579