Living Wills And Power Of Attorney

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					Living Wills And Power Of Attorney

A coherent patient basically has the right to make an autonomous decision
regarding health care. He or she may decide to refuse or accept any form
of medical treatment in the event of an illness or trauma. However, when
coherence is absent, the duty is typically passed on to the patient's
immediate family or the health care provider. This is when the concepts
of living wills and power of attorney become significant.

For as long as you're competent and rational, only you can decide what
medical intervention to accept. Needless to say, you also have the right
to decline treatment based on your personal beliefs and preferences. The
usual scenario would include a thorough explanation from your attending
physicians as regards to the advantages and disadvantages of a particular
medication or procedure. Yet, regardless of your reasons, the health care
provider is obligated to grant your refusal to receive medical care.

On the other hand, if you become incapacitated due to a permanent
disability or a terminal illness, you may lose the right and ability to
decide for your own medical treatment. In this case, the important
determinations will have to be made on your behalf. And if you haven’t
formulated any instructions, no one will truly know what you would have
wanted to happen.

Consequently, the health care team and your immediate family will have to
work with professional judgment and presumptions about your condition. So
before it's too late, learn about living wills and power of attorney and
how they can make the situation a lot easier for and your family.

Living Will

A living will is a legally binding document that allows you to express
your wishes in writing with regard to medical treatment. It normally
contains instructions as to how you want to be taken care of in the event
of a debilitating illness or a permanent vegetative condition.

More often than not, two witnesses are required to observe the signing of
this legal document. A number of states even necessitate the presence of
a Notary Public. Apart from that, the living will should be consistent
with the laws of the state on the subject of advance directives.

Since it is a legal document, the health care provider and your immediate
family would be compelled to put your wishes into action. On top of that,
a living will would certainly guarantee that your decisions about your
medical treatment would be respected no matter what happens.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney used in health care enables you – the creator – to
name an advocate in the event of your illness or incapacity. This person
would serve as your proxy in the decision-making pertaining to your
medical care. Of course, your advocate should have full knowledge of what
you intend or desire to happen in case you become too debilitated to
actually speak or decide for yourself.
Certain qualifications and conditions must be fulfilled before a person
can be named as your advocate. For instance, he or she must be of legal
age – eighteen years old and above – and must only have your best
interest in mind. You may pick your spouse, son, daughter, sibling, a
friend, or any trusted person to act as your health care representative.

In case you want your advocate to be able to decline any medical
treatment and permit you to pass away peacefully, you must specifically
say so in writing.

Although the drafting of a power of attorney is not necessarily required,
you have to remember that the legal authority of your representative will
only take effect after you have duly signed the said document.

So choose between living wills and power of attorney, and try to
determine which of the two would work best for you.