Advance Medical Directives & Living Wills

A simple document that's dated, signed, and witnessed can protect your future and tell your physicians and family members what type of care you wish to receive or prefer to avoid. These documents have several names, but they function in some similar ways. Living wills and advance directives provide a roadmap for your care. A Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment or a Do Not Resuscitate order is a doctor’s order that serves as an advanced type of planning. These estate and medical planning documents are increasingly important due to the growing geriatric population, our blended families, and the technologies that are available to save and extend lives. Each option has its own benefits and possible drawbacks.

Based in Houston, McCreary Law Office works with Texas clients to draft or update these documents as a part of a comprehensive estate plan. The office also offers many online estate planning services.

Advance Directives and Living Wills

An advance directive explains your wishes regarding life-prolonging and end-of-life care. A living will is the most common advance directive. Unlike a power of attorney that says who should make decisions, a living will tells your doctor exactly what type of treatment you do or do not want regarding terminal or irreversible conditions as defined under state law. This advanced planning eases the burden on loved ones who must make a decision during a difficult time. Living wills are ideal for individuals who do want to receive life-prolonging treatments, who do not want to receive this type of care, or who have specific wishes regarding common treatments in serious medical scenarios.

McCreary Law Office believes strongly in carefully considering complex issues involved with advance directives. We might discuss what would happen if a female client is pregnant when the directive becomes active. We will discuss organ donation and how that fits in the broader picture. We will also make sure your wishes regarding comfort care are included in your advance directive.


Texas is a developing state regarding the Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST). The POLST is a legal document that specifies the type of care you want at end of life and is signed by your physician. Texas uses a Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST) form. These physician orders are advanced from a living will and are used only when someone is near the end of life. The POLST/MOST spells out the types of treatments you prefer to receive, such as IV fluids, feeding tubes, or comfort measures only, and provides hospice information.


Under certain circumstances, advance directives may also include do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders. A DNR is a doctor’s order, signed by your physician, that states CPR should not be performed in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. A DNR must take a specific form in Texas and in Florida to be legally valid. Your DNR should be prominently displayed in your home (EMTs often look at the refrigerator for DNRs in the home) or on a state-approved bracelet or necklace.

Emergency Access to Your Health Care Documents

McCreary Law Office enrolls estate planning clients who plan with higher level plans with an online storage provider for your medical directives, so you or any emergency medical professionals can access your documents easily. You receive a plastic card to carry in your wallet, and in the event of emergency — or simply when you’re asked about your living will (such as when checking into a hospital for an out-patient procedure) — you or your medical providers can get a copy of your living will by calling the number on the card.

Working with an Attorney for Advance Medical Planning Documents

Advance planning documents require thorough consideration. In creating your health care plan, we will talk about your options. Of course, as long as you are still managing your care, advance planning documents can be altered or canceled at any time if you have a change of heart or if something has come up in your life.

McCreary Law Office works one-on-one with individuals and together with families. Jana McCreary is available to create health care planning documents for you, a family member, or a loved one who needs extra care. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the office at any time.

Contact McCreary Law Office's Houston Estate Planning Office

If you wish to talk with Jana about creating an advance medical directive or updating existing documents, contact the Houston office directly or complete the online form, and we can schedule an introductory call.