Two documents are essential to ensure you get the healthcare you need if you become incapacitated. The first document is also known as a living will or advance directive. Regardless of their name, these documents allow you to inform doctors and other health care providers what kind of care you would like.

The second document identifies who has a medical power-of- attorney to make your healthcare decisions. This allows them to answer any questions not addressed in your living will. This document identifies your health care proxy or agent (e.g., spouse or family member) if you become incapacitated.

Living Wills

A living will is the first document you should create to ensure your medical wishes are respected. This document outlines how you will be taken care of in the event of an emergency or when you become incapacitated. This living will outline your preferences on resuscitation and quality of life. It also includes details about end-of-life treatments, including those you don’t wish to receive. This document is between you and your doctor and will help them plan your treatment. Creating this document would help if you were as precise as possible. However, it would help if you remembered that you could not account for all possibilities. This is where durable power of attorney for healthcare comes in. You can use our state-specific living will form to help you get started.

A durable power of attorney for healthcare

A durable power of attorney is granted to the person who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf in an emergency. Although your living will can outline your wishes, it cannot cover all circumstances. A durable power of attorney can be granted to someone who can make healthcare decisions that are not covered by your living Will.

Remember that a person with durable power to an attorney for healthcare cannot contradict your living will. This person will be there to fill in any gaps in your living will. To learn more, please visit our simple power of attorney form.

Other names for the Power-of-Attorney for Healthcare and Advanced Directive

Depending on the state you live in, the person to whom you grant a durable medical power of attorney will be known as your “agent”, “proxy”, “attorney-in-fact”, or “surrogate”. These are the most common rights this person has:

  • Provide medical decisions that aren’t covered by your healthcare declaration
  • If necessary, enforcing your healthcare preferences in court
  • Hiring and firing medical professionals and doctors to care for you
  • Access to your medical records
  • Having visitation rights

Finally, they may combine the durable power and living will for healthcare in one document known as an “advance care directive”.

Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNR)

Your wishes regarding resuscitation should be one of the most important aspects of your life. To prevent paramedics and your health care facility from trying to revive you, you can ask your doctor for a Do Not Resuscitate Order.

Contact an attorney to get started on your estate planning

Planning for your medical care and end-of-life decisions is a complex task. An estate planning attorney can help you choose the right legal document to suit your needs. Contact an estate planning lawyer near you to get started today.

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