1. A living will (also known as an advance medical directive) is a statement of your wishes for the kind of life-sustaining medical intervention you want-- or don't want-- if you are no longer able to communicate your wishes.
2. A Medical Power of Attorney is granted to someone you trust, allowing that person -- known as your "health care agent” -- to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This is also called a “Health Care Proxy.”
It is so important to have these documents. If you become incapacitated, meaning that you’re in a condition where you’re no longer able to make your own decisions, a medical Power of Attorney will ensure that a person who you choose and who you trust is in charge of what happens next.
If you don't have this document, the court can appoint a “guardian” to make medical decisions on your behalf. The process of appointing a guardian might cost your family well over $2,000, and the person chosen by the court may not be someone you would have picked yourself.
Choose your health-care agent carefully. That person should be able to understand important medical information regarding your treatment, handle the stress of making tough decisions, and keep your best interests and wishes in mind when making those decisions.
When you've chosen the right person, you should discuss your wishes with them in advance so if the time ever comes that they need to act on your behalf, they'll know how you would want to proceed. Be sure to communicate your beliefs, values and priorities when faced with the possibility of end-of-life decisions.
Making your medical wishes known through a living will and a Medical Power of Attorney now can take that burden off your family in a later time of crisis.
To learn more, please visit our Wills & Power of Attorney page, or contact us for a free consultation.