Power of Attorney and Living Will / Health Care Directive

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The law enables us to foresee unexpected situations and prepare legal instructions regarding the medical care we receive when unable to decide for ourselves. Go through the questionnaire below, provide your responses, and obtain verified forms for the Power of Attorney and Living Will / Health Care Directive specific to your state.
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Power of Attorney and Living Will / Health Care Directive Description

At any time of life, people can get into situations when they become unable to communicate and make decisions regarding their health. This can be a terminal disease, mental illness (e.g., dementia, Alzheimer's), severe brain injury due to an accident, coma, general anesthesia, etc. Irrespective of the age, adults should think in advance about how they want to be treated and who they can trust to make medical decisions on their behalf. This is when Health Care Directives come in handy.

Health Care Directives are a legal mechanism of communicating your wishes regarding the medical treatment you do or don’t want to receive when you cannot make such decisions. These advanced legal instructions provide doctors with what kind of medical care you prefer to get and in which situations you would like to limit or exclude them.

US Legal Forms provides users with the verified and up-to-date templates of Power of Attorney and Living Will / Health Care Directives specific to each state. We’ve created this questionnaire to help you locate the forms specific to your situation and meet your state’s legal regulations. Answer the questions to get a complete package of samples containing the following:

  • 1. Living Will. This document declares which medical treatment you wish to have in certain situations when you become incapable of explaining these things yourself. A Living Will can also cover organ donation intentions, but it doesn’t allow you to appoint anyone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
  • 2. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. This legal form is also called the Medical Advance Directive or a Health Care Proxy. It enables you to officially appoint your future healthcare agent (representative) who will make medical decisions in your name when you are too sick or unconscious to do it on your own.
  • 3. Mental Health Care Power of Attorney. It’s a type of General / Durable Health Care Power of Attorney that grants the agent the right to make mental healthcare decisions on behalf of a principal when they get psychically ill.
  • 4. Declaration relating to the use of life-sustaining procedures (Do Not Resuscitate - DNR - Optional Donation of tissues). A DNR order is an Advance Health Care Directive that enables you to communicate whether you want any life-sustaining procedures to be performed or not. You can direct medical personnel whether to take reanimation actions and life-sustaining measures or not in case of certain death caused by an incurable illness or irreversible condition. Voluntarily, you can also declare your wish to donate your organs, skin, and/or tissues after your death.
  • 5. General Power of Attorney for Care and Custody of Child or Children. This form is also often called a Power of Attorney for a Minor, a Medical Power of Attorney for a Child, or a Delegation of Power by Parent or Guardian. It’s a temporary transfer of parental responsibilities and authority in the quotidian care of a child if parents are away for an extended time or stay in a hospital for long-term treatment. It also grants the agent (caretaker) the right to make important decisions regarding school enrollment, after-school activities, medical or dental treatment, etc.
  • 6. Consent of Parent or Guardian for Medical Treatment and Temporary Custody. If you are a parent or a guardian of a minor, you can use this template to grant other people the right to make healthcare decisions in emergencies and/or request medical care for your child in your absence. These can be teachers, babysitters, grandparents, coaches, etc.
  • 7. General Durable Power of Attorney for Property and Finances or Financial Effective upon Disability. Use this form to appoint an attorney-in-fact for taking decisions regarding your property in your best interest should you become disabled or incapacitated. It covers financial and banking matters, real estate transactions, and business issues; however, it doesn’t enable the agent with medical-related powers.

FAQ

What do you put in a Living Will?

A Living Will specifies all medical care procedures that you would and/or would not wish to receive when you are no longer capable of making such decisions or communicate them. You should take into account the care you want to receive for your life to be saved and specify in what cases you want doctors to stop treatment. When writing a Living Will, you can give medical staff direction regarding blood transfusion, diagnostic examinations, pain relief, use of drug-containing remedies. You can determine your wishes regarding such medical treatment as resuscitation measures, intubation, possible organ donation, etc., and in what circumstances you don’t want any life-prolonging actions to be taken (e.g., coma).

What makes a Living Will valid?

Despite each state having special requirements regarding creating a Living Will, there are general rules for it to be valid. First and foremost, your document must be in writing, dated, and signed. Verbally expressing your medical treatment wishes without a personal signature on it doesn’t make it valid. Also, there must be a witness watching over the process of you signing your Living Will according to your state’s rules. However, you can’t ask a relative, your doctor, or your lawyer to be your witness as this may be considered invalid. Notarizing is obligatory in some states, so check your state-specific legal requirements before creating your healthcare directives.

What happens when there isn’t a Living Will?

If a person without a Living Will gets into a situation when they can’t make medical decisions anymore (e.g., unconscious state due to a terminal illness or severe brain injury, vegetative state, etc.), doctors will ask relatives about further treatment. They may decide to give the cure that the patient wouldn’t like to get, like prolonging a person's life in a vegetative state for months or even years. With a Living Will, you can think in advance what treatment you want to receive at any condition (like pain relief) and in what circumstances you want to limit them. Your healthcare provider will follow your instructions irrespective of other people’s wishes.

What is the difference between a Living Will and an Advance Directive?

An advanced healthcare directive is a legal document used by people to provide their wishes regarding future healthcare treatment when they cannot make decisions on their own. A Living Will is just a part of an Advanced Directive specifying the exact treatment a person wants to receive or not once they become incapacitated. An Advanced Directive can also be in the form of a Medical Power of Attorney (or Healthcare Proxy) when a person nominates their future representative (a healthcare agent) to make medical decisions on their behalf.

How long does a Living Will last?

A Living Will comes into legal force from the moment it is signed and witnessed and lasts during the person's lifetime. However, it can still be canceled or amended at any time. Once you decide to change some of your future medical treatment wishes, you simply need to complete and sign a new Living Will template. In this case, you need to nullify the previous copy, notifying your relatives and doctors about it.

How do you make a Living Will without a lawyer?

The law doesn’t force you to hire a lawyer to write your advanced directives. You can do it yourself; however, make sure to advise a legal counselor if you don’t understand something in the legal process. There are typical templates for composing a Living Will. You can find such a form used in your state and created under its regulations in the US Legal Forms library. To download the template, you need to have an account and a valid subscription. Before filling out your Living Will blank, check up on the rules regarding the form’s need to be witnessed and notarized. Also, it's a good idea to communicate with your healthcare provider and ask them all the medical-related questions you may have.

What decisions can a Medical Power of Attorney make?

You can nominate someone trusted as your future healthcare representative (also called a healthcare agent, proxy, or even healthcare attorney-in-fact). This person will be responsible for making important medical decisions on your behalf in a certain situation when you’re unable to communicate your wishes on your own (for example, when being under general anesthesia or when suffering from dementia). You can grant your agent the power to make important decisions regarding surgery, therapy, and medicines you want to receive or not receive, should you have certain treatment at a hospital or home, etc.

How To Complete Power of Attorney and Living Will / Health Care Directive Questionnaire ?

Preparing an Advance Healthcare Directive is always a good idea, no matter what age or health condition you currently are in. You even do it without the help of an attorney. Check the recommendations below on how to compose a valid Advance Directive.

  • 1. Check the legal requirements for writing a Health Care Directive in the state you reside in. Each state has its own specific regulations for composing a Living Will or a Medical Power of Attorney. You should be aware of them and of the recent updates to create a valid document.
  • 2. Talk to your health care provider about different types of treatment and therapy. Ask questions about peculiarities of various medical conditions and the care they involve.
  • 3. Choose your health care agent/representative. This should be a person you trust (a spouse, a family member, a close friend, etc.) but not your doctor or anyone from your local medical personnel. Discuss all the details regarding your possible future treatment with them.
  • 4. Decide who will witness your Directive’s signing. Choose adult people who will confirm you being in a sound mind while signing your directives.
  • 5. Get an approved template for your Health Care Directive from the US Legal Forms web catalog. To do so, answer the questions from our questionnaire, register an account, and choose a subscription plan. Once done, download the package of forms on your device.
  • 6. Fill out the forms. Carefully go through each document and provide all your wishes regarding future treatment. If you select a Premium subscription with US Legal Forms, you’ll be able to electronically complete your forms making things faster and easier than with hard copies.
  • 7. Sign and witness your Health care Directives. Remember that you must apply your signature in the presence of a witness(es).

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