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A living will is designed for adults to be able to express their wishes concerning their own medical care when they are still in a position to communicate their desires. Living wills have been the subject of much controversy and debate in recent times.
There are many compelling reasons to have a written declaration concerning your medical care:
- There might come a time when you are too ill to express your wishes
- Your family members might not agree regarding health care decisions on your behalf
- You can express your desires to your family members so they will know what decisions to make concerning your health care
- You can remove the burden of making difficult decisions from your loved ones.
If you are in an incurable or irreversible condition, a living will can inform a doctor whether to use extreme life-saving measures such as life support or not, or whether to give or withhold artificial nutrition. Most states allow an individual who is of sound mind and 18 or older to execute a declaration controlling the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. This declaration must be signed by the declarant, or at the declarant’s direction, and witnessed by two individuals.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A healthcare power of attorney is a document that gives another person the authority to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. This document would cover instances in which you are unconscious or unable to communicate and a decision is needed regarding surgery or other medical treatment. A healthcare power of attorney compliments a living will in that it covers those situations where you may be incapacitated, but your medical condition is not so grave that your living will becomes effective. A healthcare power of attorney is recommended in addition to a living will.
You should discuss with your family members and/or the person you designate as your health care proxy what types of end of life medical treatments you want. Your doctor should be able to assist you by answering any questions about certain medical treatments you may have. Once you have made your decisions, make your wishes known.
There are lawful requirements that must be followed in order to execute a legally binding Living Will or Healthcare Power of Attorney. If you would like to discuss your options, or need further consultation in this area, please call Law Offices of Gary Green toll free with no obligation at 1-888-442-7947 or send us an e-mail at ggreen@gGreen.com.