A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is Also Known as an Advance Directive for Medical Decisions
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is a legal document that outlines the medical care you wish to receive if an event has impacted your health and you are unable to communicate. Often, this means you are in a coma, or on life-saving medical equipment. A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare can also be invoked if you have advanced Alzheimer’s or dementia. Writing this document is a moment for you to answer some very tough and important questions. Do you want the doctors to do everything possible to keep you alive, even if there is no hope, or do you give them permission to let you go? Who should make those decisions if you can’t? How is it going to be paid for? If you have strong feelings about the answers to these questions, then you should create a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Even if you’re not interested, creating a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare keeps your family members from having to agonize over these questions.
4 Things to Remember When Drafting Your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
1. A Living Will is not the same as a Will or a Living Trust
Many people assume that a living will and a will are the same document. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. They both outline your wishes, but that is it. A will is a legal document that distributes your assets after you have passed away. A living trust also differs from a living will. A living trust outlines what you want to be done with your assets if are still alive, but not cognizant to make financial decisions. A living will specify that you prefer that life support not be continued if there is no hope of recovery.
2. It’s a Good Idea to Appoint an attorney-in-fact (healthcare proxy)
It is a good idea to name an attorney-in-fact (healthcare proxy) in your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. An attorney-in-fact is someone who decides your level of medical care in the event that you become incapacitated. Naming someone as attorney-in-fact means that they can make healthcare decisions if you are unable to. If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, state law will decide who makes healthcare decisions on your behalf. You can name two or more persons to act as co-attorneys-in-fact. However, issues may arise down the road if the named persons cannot agree on your healthcare decisions.
3. A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Needs to Address as Many Situations as Possible
It’s important to think about the quality of life you would want if something were to happen. Are there any situations where you feel your life would no longer be worth living? Would you want your life extended in any situation? Would you want treatment even if a cure hasn’t been found yet? A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare can outline as many situations as you would like. It can address CPR, medical ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, antibiotics, palliative care, organ and tissue donations, and body donation in the event of your death. It’s important to discuss these topics with your doctor if you have any questions. Outlining as many situations as possible will take the guess work out of any decisions your family might face.
4.You Need to Distribute Your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Once you’ve finalized your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, you need to distribute to the people that it will affect. You should give a copy to your doctor, your healthcare agent, and any family members or friends you have named as the healthcare proxy. It’s also good to keep a copy of this with you as you travel in the event there is an incident.
LeAnn Schumann is an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Ready to Help with Your Living Will
There are several options for drafting and validating a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare online. However, this one size fits all program may not address all your needs and may not be legally enforceable. There are several areas of your health and various situations to consider when putting together a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Having an experienced estate planning attorney to guide you through the process ensures you have a document that accurately reflects your values and decisions in response to multiple medical situations. LeAnn Schumann has the experience and knowledge to assist with all your estate planning needs, including living trusts and wills. She is available to serve the people of Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Fallon, Fernley, Dayton, Yerington, Douglas County, and all other Northern NV rural counties.
Draft Your Living Will with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
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