living will is a document which gives advance instructions to medical personnel and others regarding your end of life medical issues. A Health Care Power of Attorney is a document which allows another person to make that decision. It is a wise choice to have both in place as early as possible.  This is especially important for same-sex couples as acceptance may be the law but the law cannot assure that all individuals are free of prejudice.

When do you need a living will or health care power of attorney?

It is important to understand that these documents are only effective in the event that you are unable to express your wishes. It is not possible for a designee to order mistreatment or contrary medical treatment in the instance that you can be understood.  These documents only become effective through the terms you wish to apply.

As we are all too well aware, aggressive medical treatment can leave one in a state of technical life, however the issue we must all deal with is the quality of life we choose. In the instance that medical professionals rule out future cognizance or understanding, you should have written instructions which will carry out your wishes.

Peace of mind for you and your loved ones

It is vital to assure that your loved ones are not put in the difficult position of guessing your wishes at the unfortunate end of your life. Beyond the guessing, it is also important to assure that family members are not arguing over your care. Areas covered in the living will are

  • feeding tubes,
  • resuscitation, and
  • organ donation.

Choosing a designee

Choose a health care power of attorney designee who you trust and is familiar with your health care wishes. Keep in mind this person may be called on to disagree with medical personnel or family so make sure you choose wisely. While you may love all your children and relatives equally, they may not all be equal when it comes time to assert your wishes. An assertive or diplomatic individual could be preferred.