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A living will is written legal document that indicates your desire to withhold or withdraw certain medical care based on your health circumstances.
Anyone who is competent and 18 years of age or older can make a living will by creating a living will using simplywilled.com. Once our system has created your living will, you must sign and date the document, before two witnesses. The witnesses must be at least 18 years of age and, in order to avoid legal issues, should not be related to the person signing the declaration, a beneficiary of his or her estate, or financially responsible for his or her medical care. Consider that while it is important to prepare a living will before any hospitalization or impending surgery, you should avoid deciding in a short period of time.
A living will is an advanced directive document that sets out an individual’s instructions regarding medical treatment that take effect during you’re their life time if they become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make medical decisions for themselves. In your living will, you can make certain healthcare decisions in advance, and/or select a healthcare agent who can make these decisions for you. In contrast, a last will and testament is a testamentary document, meaning it takes effect once you have passed and is used to express your final wishes regarding your estate. In your last will and testament, you can name your beneficiaries, direct the disposition of your estate assets as well as, nominate a guardian(s) for your minor children, and set out your final arrangements and appoint a personal representative to carry out your wishes.
Yes, our system will allow you to provide custom instructions in your living will and in your healthcare power of attorney.
If you haven’t appointed a healthcare agent, don’t have a healthcare power of attorney or don't have a living will, your healthcare decisions will be dictated the applicable laws of your state of residence. If no health care agent is nominated, the court system might decide who gets to make your healthcare decisions. This can result in a stranger making healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
Generally, a Health Care Power of Attorney permits another person (an agent) to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the individual granting the instrument (the principal) when the principal becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to make important decisions regarding his or her healthcare. The Health Care Power of Attorney gives the agent the power to make healthcare decisions for the principal to the degree set forth in the instrument. The decisions made by the agent are binding on the principal’s healthcare providers, as if the principal was making the decision himself or herself.
Individuals executing a Health Care Power of Attorney usually choose a close family member to act as their agent. However, any qualified person chosen by a principal can serve as the individual’s agent. Some clients feel more comfortable choosing a close friend as their guardian, and the law allows clients to make this decision. Individuals can also nominate alternate agents to serve under the instrument, in case the first agent is unwilling or unable to act. An agent must act in the individual’s best interest when making decisions. It is extremely important that the individual nominates someone that they can trust and depend on to make difficult decisions.
Generally, a Health Care Power of Attorney lasts until it is revoked. The principal only loses the ability to revoke or amend the instrument when they become incapacitated. The agent’s authority to act on your behalf terminates when you die.
When the incapacitated individual has not nominated an agent through a durable power of attorney, most states appoint an individual (called a guardian) to make healthcare decisions during the period of incapacity. The incapacitated individual no longer has any control over who is appointed. Most states have provisions that detail the order in which individuals must be considered by the courts.
Yes, a Health Care Power of Attorney is both revocable and amendable. The principal only loses the ability to revoke or amend the instrument when they become incapacitated.
A durable power of attorney does not eliminate the need for a living will or other advance directive. These instruments will provide your agent with guidance on the types of decisions you want them to make. It is possible to combine a power of attorney, living will, and other advance directives in one document to ensure that your wishes are clear and properly carried out.
A living will or advance directive may be easily revoked or cancelled. Either an oral or written statement may revoke your wishes. It is best to gather and destroy all copies to prevent any confusion. Many state statutes require that a note of revocation of a living will be placed in the medical records.
Sometimes referred to as a physician’s directive, it is a legal document in which you give directions for life-sustaining treatment should you become unable to communicate your wishes. Maryland law has combined this into the advanced medical directive.
A durable power of attorney is a type of power of attorney that will come into effect and remain in effect if the person who grants the power becomes incapacitated. This person will have the authority to make health care decisions for you. This person is also called a health care proxy or medical power of attorney. A power of attorney gives another person full or limited legal authority to sign your name on your behalf in your absence for asset management. It is valid through incapacity and ends at death.