There is a very nice pamphlet named Five Wishes that is distributed by a number of organizations to help individuals broach the subject of advanced care planning. The private, non-profit organization that created it boasts that it is often called the “living will with heart and soul, ”and that a total of 42 states now allow residents to put their end-of-life wishes in their own words instead of a state-written document.
Texas is not one of those states.
Texas encourages end- of- life planning. There are 2 basic forms: the Texas Medical Power of Attorney and the Texas Directive to Physicians. The Medical Power of Attorney designates an agent who will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. The Directive to Physicians, also known as a Living Will, states your preferences about life-sustaining medical procedures at the end of life.
There is a third form, which is the Out of Hospital DNR. This is a form that you cannot prepare; it has to be prepared by your physician. It requires ambulance personnel to let you die if that is your expressed desire.
The Five Wishes pamphlet is a generic workbook that supposedly combines surrogate decision making, a medical power of attorney and palliative care choices. It can be a useful tool.
However, the Five Wishes pamphlet is not enforceable in Texas. Texas forms have stringent witnessing requirements which aren’t incorporated in the Five Wishes pamphlet. The Texas form for Medical Power of Attorney has mandatory language and disclosures, also not incorporated in the Five Wishes pamphlet.
So feel free to make your five wishes. Just don’t forget to also make enforceable documents like the Texas Medical Power of Attorney and Texas Directive to Physicians.
Hammerle Finley Law Firm. Give us a call. We Can Help.