Everyone Has an Incapacity Estate Plan for Health Care Issues

Whether or not you have any documents prepared, you have an incapacity estate plan for health-care issues in place courtesy of the State of Maryland.

The surrogacy laws of Maryland provide that certain people have the authority to make health-care decisions on your behalf if physicians believe you are unable to make an informed decision. This could be based on an injury, disease, medication, or the fact that you are under anesthesia and your treating physicians identify something that they need to resolve and need to seek a consent on your behalf. The priority is generally as follows: Guardian of the patient, patient’s spouse or domestic partner, adult child of patient, parent of the patient, and adult sibling of patient.

The issue arises when, for instance, parent and spouse of the patient arrive at the hospital at the same time and there is a difference of opinion. Another issue occurs when two adult children with differing opinions arrive at the hospital. Physicians are not lawyers and may not listen to the proper person under such circumstances.

Furthermore, unless the surrogate instructs otherwise, your medical providers will continue to implement life-sustaining procedures, those procedures that will maintain your bodily functions, in instances even in instances where they believe there is no reasonable expectation of your recovery.

Some things you can do by creating your own estate plan for incapacity planning for medical purposes include:

  1. Designate a primary and successor health care Agent to make decisions on your behalf, and include their telephone numbers so your medical providers can reach them.
  2. Direct whether or not you desire to have life-sustaining procedures to be implemented if your physicians believe there is no reasonable expectation of your recovery
  3. Describe any funeral, cremation, or burial arrangements

If you do not want to rely on the laws of the State of Maryland, and would like to create an estate plan that is individualized to meet your and your family’s needs, call us today at (410) 740-1180 or email Lauren at lauren@oliverfamilylaw.com.