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Is Five Wishes now expectwed in the state of Massachusetts, if not, can an individual still have one

Living will is not statutorily recognized in Massachusetts and FIve Wishes is a form of living Will. If I have a Five Wishes document, can I still present it to my doctor and to the hospital if I got sick? will they honor it? Why will not they honor the Five Wishes?

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Submitted Wed, 11/16/2016 - 09:06

In Massachusetts, living wills are not legally recognized, which means that it would be up to the health care provider to choose whether or not to honor your living will. The living will may be used as a guide by your family and the doctor/hospital, but they are not bound to it. Massachusetts has another form of advanced directive called a Health Care Proxy (HCP) that hospitals and doctors are required by law to recognize. What a HCP does is appoint a specific person that is authorized to make medical decisions regarding your care if you are incapacitated and unable to make those decisions for yourself. You can also appoint an alternate to take over if that person cannot serve. By choosing who will make medical decisions for you, you can limit any infighting among family and you can pick someone who you can communicate your wishes to in advance, who can then fight for those options.

My office would be happy to discuss drafting a HCP proxy for you and explain what the HCP can and cannot dictate when it comes to end of life care. Feel free to call or e-mail for more information.

David Owens
Grolman LLP

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