There are 3 basic types of powers of attorney. First, is the durable power of attorney in which the grantor gives the agent the power to act on his behalf, to deal with his assets, income, and so forth. The second is a limited power of attorney, which is limited to one act that usually comes about when someone is buying or selling the property and cannot be at the closing. He can grant a limited power of attorney to someone else so that they can sign on his behalf at the closing but includes no additional responsibilities. The final one is the healthcare power of attorney. This is where you, as the grantor, make choices about what you want to happen if you are in a coma or otherwise cannot instruct doctors as to what you want. You will have made choices on the healthcare power of attorney that will guide your agent in expressing your wishes to the doctors.
What Is A Healthcare Power Of Attorney?
A healthcare power of attorney is a unique document which is controlled by statute, unlike the other types of power of attorney. In the healthcare power of attorney, the grantor has several choices to make and those are written into the document. Basically, it deals with how much food, nutrition, and liquid sustenance you want if you cannot tell the doctors. It also details how much the doctors can do to keep you alive when you cannot tell them.
Is A Healthcare Power Of Attorney The Same As A Living Will?
Healthcare power of attorney and a living will are similar, but not the same. A living will is also called the Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death, is a document that says, “If I am terminally ill, in a coma, or otherwise cannot communicate, then I do not want my life to be extended by artificial means.” A healthcare power of attorney is more detailed in instructing the doctor through the choices you make on the document as to how much food and liquid you would like to be given to keep you alive if you cannot communicate with the doctor.
Can A Durable Power Of Attorney Change A Healthcare Power Of Attorney?
A durable power of attorney cannot change the healthcare power of attorney. However, the durable power of attorney should, within the document, state that it does not cover healthcare. That is why there is a separate healthcare power of attorney. This way the agent, under the durable power, cannot change what the person puts in the healthcare power of attorney.
Can Family Override A Living Will?
No, family cannot override a living will. That is why it is signed, notarized, and properly executed. As long as the living will is properly executed, then a family cannot override the wishes of the person who made the living will.
What Should A Living Will Include?
A living will is a creature of statute, of state law, and therefore, it is pretty self-contained; there are not a lot of choices. It only tells the doctors whether you want to be kept alive at all costs or if you are terminal and cannot make your own decisions, then you want them to stop trying to save your life.
What Are The Different Types Of Advanced Directives?
There are basically two advance directives, but I will mention a third. The living will or Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death says, “In the event that I cannot speak for myself and if I am terminal, then I do not want any additional help. I want to die a natural death without artificial nutrients.” Next is the healthcare power of attorney, which goes into more detail through multiple choices that the maker chooses at the documents creation about how much the doctor should do to keep them alive under different circumstances. Finally, I want to mention that a trust can be an advance directive, because you have wide latitude in a trust to say what you want to happen as you get older, before you die, and when you die.
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