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Charleston Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Friday, February 1, 2019

Advanced Directives

One of the frightening aspects of contemplating incapacity is imagining losing your ability to communicate your own wishes. Mortality is difficult enough to face without feeling that others will be in control of your end of life decisions. This is why advanced directives are an important part of estate planning. Advanced directives are the best means of documenting specifically what you want to happen if you become severely ill or incapacitated by injury.

Though no one enjoys contemplating his or her own death, working closely with a professional estate attorney to prepare appropriate papers can bring you reassurance and peace of mind. In addition, by having advanced directives in place, you will spare your loved ones the anguish of worrying about what you would want them to do in a critical situation. It should be noted that you must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind for your advanced directive to be legal.

If you reside in Charleston County, South Carolina, you have easy access to Wiles Law Firm, LLC. Our attorneys have an in-depth understanding of the sensitive nature of assisting you in the preparation of advanced directives. We will help you and your loved ones move smoothly through the required paperwork and give you emotional, as well as legal, support throughout the process.

There are several documents involved in preparing for uncomfortable eventualities. Each provides an individual protection of your rights so your personal wishes will be respected and none of your “private” decisions will end up being made by the courts.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Durable power of attorney, also known as a health care proxy, is a document in which you give someone you trust the power to make decisions about your health care if you are too ill to do so and cannot express your wishes.  The person you select, referred to as your agent, has your permission to communicate with your doctors and other medical professionals to make sure you receive the kind of treatment you prefer and don’t receive any intervention you don’t want. By giving a trusted person the ability to speak on your behalf, you will prevent your relatives from having to petition the court in order to do so.

In order to make your South Carolina Health Care Power of Attorney legal, you must sign
and date it or acknowledge your signature in the presence of two witnesses. You should be aware that these witnesses cannot be:


  • Your agent
  • Your relative by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Your attending physician or a member of that physician’s staff
  • Financially responsible for your medical care
  • Beneficiary of your estate by will or law
  • Beneficiary of your life insurance policy
  • Person with a claim against your estate upon your death

Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death

This document, also known as a living will or simply a declaration, clarifies which types of end of life medical treatment you wish to receive if you become unable to communicate due to incapacity. Your living will is particularly helpful in establishing whether you want extraordinary measures taken to keep you alive, such as a feeding tube or a ventilator when there is no reasonable hope for your recovery.

Making such decisions for yourself in advance will make life much easier for your loved ones who will otherwise have to depend on their own judgment about whether or when to stop trying to prolong your life As with all aspects of your advanced directives, once you become a client of Wiles Law Firm, one of our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys will take the time to explain all the specifics of the significant decisions you are making and their implications.

Organ Donation

You can convey your desire to be an organ donor on your driver’s license, but to make sure your wish to donate is immediately apparent after (or just before) your death, it is wise to discuss being listed on other organ donation registries with one of our capable estate planning attorneys.

Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)
A DNR is put in place to alert medical personnel attending the patient that, in the event of a medical emergency, cardiopulmonary resuscitation should not be used to keep the patient alive. This document will signify that you do not wish to be revived if you die, feeling this will only prolong your suffering and the suffering of those you love.

HIPAA Authorization
HIPAA stands for “ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act,” a federal law designed to protect individual privacy in regard to health information and medical records. HIPAA privacy is meant to protect patients from unnecessary disclosures of their protected health information (PHI). There are, however, some circumstances in which PHI disclosure is legally required, and HIPAA is overridden — for example when you have a serious infectious disease that puts the general population at risk.

Trust Wiles Law Firm, LLC to Protect Your Future

The estate planning attorneys at Wiles Law Firm are dedicated to preparing you for the joyful and exciting parts of your future and protecting you from its inevitable challenges. When you come to us we will provide you with the guidance you need and the personal attention you deserve. Make an appointment for legal counsel by calling us or filling out a contact form on our website.


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Wiles Law Firm, LLC helps clients with their estate planning needs in Charleston, South Carolina and the surrounding areas such as West Ashley, Summerville, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and John's Island.

Information on this website is not legal advice. Further, viewing of the enclosed information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Wiles Law Firm, LLC. Matters will be handled by attorneys who primarily practice out of our office in Charleston County located at 852 Lowcountry Blvd., Ste. 101, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464. M. Emerson Wiles, III is the attorney responsible for this advertisement.

Any result Wiles Law Firm, LLC may achieve on behalf of one client in one particular matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients. Please contact a South Carolina estate planning attorney or one of our attorneys with Wiles Law Firm, LLC for a consultation regarding your unique estate plan.

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