A power of attorney living will is a legally binding document that gives direction and authority for medical decisions that need to be made in the event an individual (the declarer) becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to make such decisions for his or herself. Living wills are not considered potent until and unless the declarer is medically hopeless, meaning there is no known chance of recovery.
A power of attorney living will form directs a specific individual (the power of attorney) to make decisions on behalf of this declarer regarding medical treatments and health care should the need arise. As well, power of attorney living will documents can provide instruction for non-medical decisions (financial, estate planning, inheritance) to be made according to wishes of the declarer who can no longer direct his or her own affairs.
These documents, like other power of attorney papers, can be far reaching or general in nature. For instance, some individuals may simply using a living will to state that they wish to not be given pain medicine if and when a terminal illness overtakes them, while at the same time leaving specifics about medication type, treatment durations, and other details to the discretion of his or her doctors. Other declarers, however, may be much more explicit, ordering, for instance, their brother Stan to be the point of contact for all medical decisions, and spelling out detailed information about the type of care, medication, treatment and the timeframe in which he or she expects to receive this care.
Regardless how detailed or simple a power of attorney living will may be, they are important documents for all individuals, especially as one progresses in age. Power of attorney living wills serve to protect the declarer’s own interests during a time when they will not be able to speak or act on their own, while at the same time they take the guesswork out of trying to figure out what a declarers wishes or intentions would otherwise be.
We know, for instance, those stories of debilitated or comatose individuals who did not leave a power of attorney living will, and whose family members struggle with differing areas of responsibility and medical decision-making because there is no clear directive on what the loved one would have wanted for themselves. Without a power of attorney living will, these can be anguishing last days.
For those who wish to complete power of attorney living will, you’ll need to find specific documents for your state. Each state is different, though most documents require the same general sort of information, including choosing whether or not to receive life-preserving care, the types or extent of pain medication you wish to receive, choosing a specific physician to administer end-of-life care, and the decision to donate one’s organs, to name but a few.
If you wish to learn more, you can find power of attorney living will documents online, or you should consult your own doctor’s office for information about this important subject.