Saturday, October 8, 2011

Living Wills and Power Of Attorney For Health Care

When determining end of life decisions, there are two different ways this can be handled. There is a living will or power of attorney. Picking one of these is important, so that family and/or friends are able to make decisions based on your specific wishes. This means there is less chance of disagreements occurring and they are not stuck making a tough decision either.
There is a difference between the two and what you are looking to have take place when there are end of life decisions to be made, will determine which choice you go with.
Having A Living Will
There are a few things that a living will does in the event that an end of life decision needs to be made on your behalf:
  • It specifically lets family/friends know the type of care you do and do not wish to receive.
  • This is only when you are completely unable to speak your own wishes.
  • The living will can be specific or general in nature.
  • It can specify which procedures you want to have done and which you do not want done.
  • The living will can be very general and this allows family/friends to make the decisions, however in the case of a living will, a power of attorney should be completed as well.
The main reason that a power of attorney should be completed with a living will, is that even when you have tried to cover possible circumstance, many times there are still situations that arise that are unforeseen. Having a power of attorney in place ensures that your wishes are covered and that if need be there is someone in place to make any very difficult decisions.
Having A Power Of Attorney
A power of attorney in conjunction with a living will does a few things when there are end of life decisions to be made:
  • The agent can make decisions that are not in the living will.
  • The agent can not change your living will.
  • The form only allows the agent to make decisions that will supplement the living will.
  • The power form is meant to cover issues that may have not been specified in the living will.
Keep in mind, that when there is an agent in affect already for financial matters, this can cause a conflict with an agent that is appointed for health matters. Make sure that they are different people, but people that can work together and that each will have your best interest in mind.
With either a power of attorney form or a living will, each state has different rules to create these, however typically a person must be 18 years of age and competent enough to complete the forms.
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