Do I Need a Lawyer?

Do I Need a Lawyer to Draft an Advance Directive?  Different Viewpoints

Richard Mayberry  A client completing pro se, or by himself, legal forms is only the starting point. The key issue is making healthcare decisions that are right for your family and reflect your values. Issues, such as end or life issues in living wills, are a matter of life and death; it fact your life and death. My experience in over 30 years of law practice is that most clients find valuable highly valuable if not essential  the  "facilitation" in assessing  a client's values and decisions,  "judgment" in making recommendations and customizing the legal instruments to reflect the client's decisions. For this reason, I and the Leadership Team have volunteered to take actively, 'boots on the ground" as my Marine son would say, participate in providing healthcare directives to Northern Virginians.

Click for a more fuller discussion of Richard Mayberry's views on "Do It Yourself Lawyering, Technology and the Future.

VSB Healthcare Committee  "A lawyer is not required to draft a valid Advance Directive. There are free forms available at the links above, but a lawyer may help you if you have questions or complex healthcare needs. The free forms are also only models. You can use them or numerous other forms or no form at all. Just be sure that whatever you use includes: (1) your healthcare wishes, (2) your signature, and (3) the signatures of two adult witnesses."

From respected local lawyer on Elder Lawyer's List-serveIf the goal is to complete an Advance Medical Directive without consulting with an attorney, then I recommend the "Five Wishes" document available from Aging with Dignity which is a valid directive in most states. If the goal is to have the principal’s wishes followed, then I recommend that the principal have substantive conversations with the designated agents so that the principal’s wishes/values are known to the agent.   I think this is more important that the form utilized.