A Health Care Power of Attorney (sometimes called a Living Will), is a legal document letting you direct medical providers to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment if you are in an end stage medical condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness. In your Health Care Power of Attorney, you designate another person, known as your Agent, to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
Preparing a Health Care Power of Attorney lets you to decide now what medical treatment you want in the future if you become incompetent or incapacitated. Failure to prepare a Health Care Power of Attorney may cause increased stress on your loved ones who are left to decide the proper medical treatment for you without your guidance.
In your Health Care Power of Attorney you can refuse all, or some, medical treatment such as cardiac resuscitation, artificial feeding, blood, kidney dialysis, antibiotics, surgery, diagnostic tests, and mechanical respiration. You can also direct your medical providers to administer treatment that will keep you comfortable and alleviate your pain at all times, regardless of the choices you make about medical treatment.
Your Health Care Power of Attorney can become effective when your medical providers determine you to be incompetent and in a terminal condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness, or if you choose, it can be effective immediately to enable your Agent to help you make health care decisions.
You can also use this document to designate who you would like to be your Guardian if one is needed in the future. As well, you can use it to designate what you wish to have happen to your body after your death in terms of organ donation, burial, types of memorial services you would like and other matters.