I have previously explained that a Living Will is the document that tells health care providers if you want to be removed from life support. This is an important document because, if your wishes are not clear, loved ones and health care providers will be left to make that terrible decision. This can create serious disputes at a most delicate time.
A Living Will permits a health care provider to remove you from life support if certain conditions are met. If you have a terminal condition in which death is “imminent,” and a doctor certifies there is no chance of recovery, you may wish to be removed from life support. Signing a Living Will while you are still able will help ensure your wishes are known and respected.
Accompanying a Living Will should be a second document called a “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.” This is the document that allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions for you if you cannot. If you name someone to make health care decisions for you, how does that work with a Living Will? Does that person decide if you are going to be taken off life support?
If you have completed a Living Will, the Living Will controls whether you are taken off of life support.
You should use the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care to appoint a trusted individual to make all your other health care decisions if you cannot. There are many situations in which this authority is extremely important. However, the “final” decision – whether you stay on life support if there is no chance for recovery – should not be turned over to someone else. It is too personal; and it is unfair to expect someone else to figure out what you would have wanted.
Always complete a Living Will so that if a final decision needs to be made, it is made by you.
Come to a free presentation and learn answers to the questions you should be asking to protect you and your loved ones.