Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 11, 2015 – Advance medical directives are important documents that should be kept safe, but they also need to be accessible. While more people are recognizing the importance of documenting their wishes regarding health care, too often the documents are kept in a place that is not easily accessible in case of an emergency.
“Advance medical directives often come into play in an emergency situation, so they need to be kept in an accessible location that loved ones are aware of,” said Andrew H. Hook, an estate planning attorney with Hook Law Center, with offices in northern Suffolk and Virginia Beach. “If the only copy is locked in a safe deposit box, it will not be useful in a sudden medical crisis.”
Advance medical directives may include appointing an agent to make health care decisions for an individual if he or she are not able to, instructions for personal care in the event of a terminal condition and instructions about anatomical gifts such as organ donation. In many cases, if the person designated as a health care agent is not able to present the advance directive at the hospital, an individual's wishes may not be honored.
One solution is to store advance medical directives in electronic form, and in such a way that they are accessible via a smartphone or other mobile device. One may also use a system such as Docubank or MyDirectives to make health care and legal documents available. The American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging has developed My Health Care Wishes, a smartphone app, to help store such documents in an accessible form. And in Virginia, one may visit the state's Advance Health Care Directive Registry to store documents where health care providers can access them.
Hook Law Center
295 Bendix Road, Suite 170
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452-1294
5806 Harbour View Blvd.
Suffolk VA 23435