Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Who makes medical decisions for me if I cannot make them myself?

With a Health Care Power of Attorney, you can decide exactly who will make health care decisions for you if you cannot. The Health Care Power of Attorney is a legal document that designates what family members or friends that you want to make critical health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated. You can even designate in what order those individuals will serve. The Health Care Power of Attorney ends the guessing game about which family member will make decisions at the hospital when time is of the essence. No more family disagreements about who will make that decision. Instead, one person is clearly designated to make decisions for you.

In addition to the power of attorney, you can also make known exactly what treatments you desire through a Medical Directive or "Living Will". In a living will, you can state exactly what life sustaining treatments you desire if you have a terminal or irreversible medical condition. You can also specify if you want to donate your organs.

Finally, in the most critical of cases, you may want to sign a "Do not resuscitate order". In that order, you can provide that, due to a deteriorating medical condition, you no longer want life-saving medical procedures performed, but instead want to be allowed to die as peacefully as possible. I only recommend the do not resuscitate order to clients with extreme medical circumstances.

I recommend that all of my clients have a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will just in case they are seriously and unexpectedly injured. These are commonly signed at the same time as new wills.

As always, please feel free to contact us through our website ( if we can be of assistance.

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