What Are Advance Directives?

January 24, 2023

Person signing advance directive papers at a hospital.

What Are Advance Directives in Louisiana?

Advance directives are an essential part of your estate plan. Without advance directives in place, your family may be left scrambling in a very trying time. But what exactly are advance directives?

If you have been injured or are ill, you may be unable to communicate what plan of action you wish to pursue. An advance directive, or healthcare directive, are legal statements that specify the decisions you want to be made regarding your health should you be unable to make these decisions yourself.

Planning for the future is the best way to ensure you and your family is looked after. At Dowden & Smith, our estate planning attorneys will help you with the intricacies of advance directives in Louisiana, as well as drafting a comprehensive estate plan. Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys today to discuss your options.

Older man in bed and family member discussing advance directives.Types of Advance Directives in Louisiana

Louisiana advance directives are written legal documents that require signatures from witnesses and for the witnesses to be present for your signing. While you may be able to communicate your plan in a hospital bed, having a valid Louisiana advance directive in place is best to prepare for a situation in which you can’t communicate your wishes.

At Dowden & Smith, we can help you select the best option for your healthcare needs, including:

  • Living Wills – A living will is used when you are incapacitated, and your condition is irreversible and terminal. In Louisiana, this advance directive is only used to indicate your preferences for withholding certain life-sustaining medical procedures.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney – Unlike a living will, a healthcare power of attorney allows you to select a person to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so.

A living will may be the best option for you if you wish to forgo life-sustaining procedures that may affect your quality of life. However, this option is much more limited than the healthcare power of attorney. When choosing an advance directive in Louisiana, you must consider what is best for both yourself and your family.

If you are planning for your family’s future and need help picking Louisiana advance directives – do not hesitate to call Dowden & Smith at 337-238-2800. Our compassionate legal team is here to help you pick the best path for you and your family.

[Related: The Different Types of Powers of Attorney in Louisiana]

What Medical Procedures Can You List in Your Louisiana Advance Directive?

Sick older man in a hospital bed with a family member.Louisiana advance directives are limited in power. For example, you may choose whether you wish to forgo the following medical procedures:

  • Nutrition – whether food can be administered invasively
  • Hydration- whether water may be administered invasively
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Artificial Respiration
  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Intravenous Antibiotics
  • Chemotherapy
  • Transfusions
  • Dialysis
  • Pace Maker
  • Internal Defibrillator
  • Tracheotomy

What you choose to exclude in your advance directive is up to you.

Can You Change Advance Directives & How?

In Louisiana, advance directives may be changed. If a situation changes, whether it be your decision, your health, or a family situation, you must revoke the previous directive and execute a new one.

The compassionate and experienced estate planning attorneys at Dowden & Smith are well-versed in drafting and changing advance directives in Louisiana. Should you require help with choosing the right directive for you or revoking an old directive and replacing it with an updated one, contact Dowden & Smith.

[Related: Why You Need a Succession Attorney]

Protect Your Family’s Future with Louisiana Advance Directives

Equipped with over 35 years of experience, Dowden & Smith’s attorneys are here to help you. You know how much your family means to you and that planning for every situation and your family’s future without you is scary. Our compassionate attorneys will guide you through the Louisiana advance directives, help you choose the best path, and draft a comprehensive estate plan.

Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation and protect your family’s future.


The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice. The information contained on this site is for general information only and should not be applied to any specific situation. Any use of the site does not create or constitute a client-lawyer relationship between Dowden & Smith and the user of the site. If you require legal advice, consult with an experienced attorney.

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