Thursday, January 28, 2010

Today's Probate Answers

What Is a Living Will?

What a Living Will States

A Living Will is a document in which you give directions regarding life sustaining treatment should you become unable to communicate your wishes. A Living Will is also called an Advance Health Directive, an Advance Health Care Directive, or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

As long as you are mentally competent, you can be consulted about desired treatment. When you have lost the capacity to communicate, however, the situation is different and a Living Will can direct someone you have appointed to follow your instructions. This document states:

• Whom you appointed to make health care decisions for you should you be unable to do so. The person chosen is known as the “Agent” and you are known as the “Principal.”

• Specific directives as to the course of treatment that is to be taken by caregivers if you become incapacitated. This can also include treatments that you forbid. You should realize that if you do not express your views, treatment to maintain your life, by whatever means available, would probably be provided once you are no longer able to communicate, even if family members object. Therefore, if there are conditions under which you would not want treatment, it is important that you communicate your wishes while you are able to do so.

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