What Are Living Wills and Power of Attorney Documents for Healthcare?

What Are Living Wills and Power of Attorney Documents for Healthcare?

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Scott Dylan Westerlund
 | 
Would your family know your wishes if you suddenly became unable to speak your truth due to a personal health crisis? We’ve all been on high-alert during the COVID-19 pandemic, and too many Americans have experienced the negative impacts of the virus first-hand.

Sadly, many COVID-19 patients are suffering from prolonged unconsciousness after contracting the virus. Others who have “mild” cases are suffering from brain fog. These unsettling truths are making many of us reconsider whether we should be creating living wills or power of attorney documents.

Are you unsure of how these documents could help you during an unexpected health event? Are you wondering how to get started on formalizing your legal documents? Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know.

 

What Are Living Wills?

Wills help ensure that your wishes get carried out in the event you pass away. Living wills, on the other hand, help ensure that your wishes are met even if you can’t verbally or physically articulate your wishes at the time. Creating a living will protects your interests in the event you fall into a coma, get diagnosed with dementia, or experience a TBI.

Any time you become incapacitated, your living will becomes the legal authority. In your living will, you should detail the type of healthcare you expect. You can express your consent or lack of consent for specific treatments, like life-support or remaining on a ventilator for an extended period of time.

Power of Attorney: The Basics

It’s difficult to predict what type of healthcare you may or may not need in the future. That’s one reason why many Americans opt to create a power of attorney in the event they become medically incapacitated.

A power of attorney document gives someone else the legal authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. Most often, this party is a family member or spouse. Some individuals do choose to name non-family members as their trusted representative, though. If you plan on naming someone in your power of attorney documents, then it’s crucial that you let them know before you draft up your papers.

A power of attorney document can also help ensure that your financial wishes are taken care of if you experience a medical crisis, too. It’s up to you to outline how vast this person’s financial powers are. You could, for example, specify that they can only use your money to pay off your medical expenses.

Healthcare Concerns During COVID-19

Despite COVID-19 being around for over a year now, we still don’t know much about the virus. Some individuals have reported experiencing long-term symptoms like brain fog, memory problems, and an inability to withstand light exercise. Some of these symptoms are so debilitating that survivors are seeking out disability benefits.

In other cases, the virus is causing individuals to become incapacitated. They go unconscious and are hooked up to ventilators to help them breathe. Everyone would like to think that such a tragedy could never happen in their own lives, but it’s vital that you start to consider these possibilities before a disaster happens to you.

 

How to Formalize Your Legal Documents

Are you considering crafting up a living will or power of attorney document? Anyone who is 18-years-old or older has the authority to draft and formalize these papers. You must also prove that you’re of a ‘sound mind’ when you sign the documents. That means you must establish that you completely understand what the document means and how the process works.

In some states, both your living will and power of attorney document will be compacted into one document. In other states, they will be two separate legal documents.

Everything You Need to Know About Living Wills and Power of Attorney

No one wants to imagine being unable to express their wishes. Despite that, it’s crucial that you start to take these possibilities into consideration, especially considering we’re a year-deep into a pandemic. If you contract COVID-19 and become incapacitated, living wills and power of attorney documents can protect your interests.

Are you looking for an attorney to help you finalize your living will or power of attorney papers? Our lawyer search can help connect you with a lawyer near you. Head over now to get matched with an expert.


This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
 
Scott Dylan Westerlund

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