Pub. Date: Feb 2010
Country: United States
If you are like most people, you probably haven’t given too much thought as to what might happen if an accident or illness left you in need of medical treatment but unable to communicate your wishes. However, thanks to accidents (especially road traffic accidents) and sudden illnesses, thousands of American families are confronted by these problems every single day. They are forced to make medical decisions on behalf of their loved ones – often in circumstances where they have no real way of knowing the exact kind of medical decisions that their loved ones would want them to make. Do they risk brain injury by allowing their loved one to undergo a specific procedure? Do they risk paralysis? What about leaving them on life support indefinitely?
These are just a flavor of some of the extremely difficult questions that your family could be forced to ask themselves. While there is no truly effective means by which you can protect you and your family from these uncertainties, you can eliminate most of this uncertainty by having a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will. Together, these documents, will allow you to appoint someone you trust as your agent with authority to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unconscious, mentally incompetent or otherwise unable to do so yourself. You can also use these documents to set out your preferences regarding the receipt or non-receipt of life sustaining medical treatments during any period in which you are permanently unconscious or suffering from a terminal illness and unable to communicate your wishes. They also allow you to specify the types of medical procedures that you do and do not want. Both your agent and attending medical personnel will ordinarily honor the wishes set out in these documents.
Even where you have executed a Healthcare Power of Attorney or a Living Will, you still have the right to give medical directions to your physicians and other healthcare providers as long as you are able to do so. These documents only become effective when you do not have the capacity to give, withdraw or withhold informed consent regarding your healthcare.
In addition, it’s important to remember that provided you are mentally competent, you can revoke your Healthcare Power of Attorney & Living Will at any time!
A failure to make a Healthcare Power of Attorney & Living Will can have serious consequences. For example, if you become unable to make decisions regarding your own healthcare, either your family will be consulted regarding your medical treatment or a court application may need to be made in order to have you made a ward of court. In the latter case, the court will appoint a guardian with the power and responsibility of making medical decisions on your behalf. However, there is no guarantee that this guardian will respect any wishes that you may have expressed regarding your medical treatment. This can result in you undergoing medical procedures and treatments that you would not have approved of.
The easiest and best way to protect you and your family from the occurrence of such events is to have a Healthcare Power of Attorney & Living Will. Our Healthcare Power of Attorney & Living Will Kit contains all the information and ready-to-use lawyer prepared legal forms and documents necessary to create a combined Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will.
We’ll take you step by step through the process of preparing your document. So, don’t wait until you can no longer make a choice – Act Now -While You Can!
The following forms are included with this legal kit:-