Power of Attorney & Living Will
A health care power of attorney, living will and durable power of attorney set forth your personal desires, and become effective in the event you are ever incapacitated and unable to verbalize your wishes.
A health care power of attorney is a document that designates an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf, if you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. A health care power of attorney sets forth what your wishes are and will direct your agent to enforce your desires. Additionally, it can limit the decisions that you may not want someone making on your behalf.
A living will sets forth your desire to receive or refuse end of life treatment. Most people will remember the Terry Schaivo case in Florida several years ago. Terry Schaivo lived in a hospital bed, surviving only on a feeding tube which sustained her life for over ten years. Her parents fought against Terry’s husband in court to keep her on life support. Ultimately, Terry’s husband’s wishes were granted by the Court and the feeding tube was removed. Had Terry Schaivo signed a health care power of attorney and living will with directions on what her desires were, it would have saved both sides of her family from many years of heartache and costly court battles.
You ought to also create a durable power attorney for finances to have someone deal with financial decisions in the event you are unable to for yourself. The person you select should be someone you trust and who is also responsible with finances.