Advanced Directives

Living Wills: A written statement that details the type of care you want (or don't want) if you become unable to speak for yourself. This document is most often called a living will, though it may go by a different name. A living will has no relation to the conventional will or living trust used to leave property at death; it's strictly a place to spell out your health care preferences. You can use your living will to say as much or as little as you wish about the kind of health care you want to receive. This is an important resource so your partner, family and/or healthcare providers are aware of what your wishes are. As you age, your living will should be kept in a known and obvious place, where it can be easily found.

Health Care Proxy: It is recommended that you appoint someone you trust to be your Health Care Agent (sometimes called a Health Care Proxy). This person will be able to make any necessary health care decisions for you when you are not able to. This is very important in order to ensure that someone you trust will make health care decisions for you when you lack capacity to do so for yourself. It is important to share your wishes with your Health Care Agent so that they can see that doctors and other health care providers give you the type of care you wish to receive. Your Health Care Agent will be entitled to your medical records that are directly related to the medical decision making at hand.

Power of Attorney for Health Care: A Power of Attorney makes legal and/or financial decisions on your behalf and acts based on the scope of authority and under the conditions you have given them. If you designate the individual to do so, your Power of Attorney for Health Care may have access to all your medical records whether or not you lack capacity.

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