A living will or health care declaration is a document that describes the kind of medical care you want to receive when you are incapacitated and can no longer speak for yourself. By having a living will, you are assured of the medical care you will receive when you are no longer capable of making medical decisions for yourself.
A living will or health care declaration is often paired with a power of attorney for health care. In the power of attorney for healthcare, you choose a person to act as your health care agent and who will be responsible for making health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated. A living will or healthcare directive paired with a power of attorney for health care are sometimes combined together into one document called an “advanced directive”.
Advanced directives have different names in different states:
• Health Care Declaration
• Directive to Physicians
• Health Care Directive
• Medical Directive
Other terms that refer to durable power of attorney for health care:
• Medical Power of Attorney
• Power of Attorney for Health Care
• Designation of Surrogate
• Patient Advocate Designation
Other terms for health care agent:
• Attorney-in-Fact for Health Care
• Patient Advocate
• Health Care Proxy
• Health Care Representative
Contents of a Living Will
You can put instructions in your living will pertaining to the types of treatment you want or do not want. These wishes will be the medical care you will receive when the time comes. You can include details of various care types which may include:
• Life prolonging medical care: this includes treatments like CPR, diagnostic test, dialysis, blood transfusions, drug administration, use of a respirator and surgery.
• Food and water: intravenous feeding can prolong the life of unconscious patients.
• Pain management: medical care that relieves pain, symptoms, and stress caused by serious or terminal illnesses, improving patients’ quality of life.
Most people who create their living will consider not only their own preferences but also those of their family. Deciding on the kind of end-of-life care you want may not be easy.
How to Make a Living Will
Every state has their own requirements for making a living will so it would be best to check out a free preview of the Living Will for you and your state..
Living wills need to be signed by you and be witnessed or notarized, depending on the requirements of your state law.
What to Do after Signing your Will
Make several copies of your living will and give a copy to:
• Family member
• Health care agent
• Hospital or facility care
Remember that your living will can only take effect if those who are treating you know about its existence. It might be a difficult issue to discuss with your family, yet it is best to let them know your wishes and to share your living will with them. It will relieve them of heart wrenching decisions when the time comes.
Source: 1-2-Law: www.12law.com