We help you ensure your wishes are followed if you get sick and can’t speak for yourself.

Example: John is seriously injured in an automobile accident.  The doctors say he will never regain consciousness and need to know whether to put him on life support.  Who decides and how?

Hopefully, John made some decisions in advance and has a valid health care surrogate designation or power of attorney for health care naming someone as his agent to speak on his behalf when he can’t. Hopefully he also has a living will describing his preferences for how his surrogate and doctors should make those important decisions.

What if I don’t have a valid health care surrogate designation or power of attorney?

If John doesn’t have these documents, then his doctors may look to John’s next-of-kin to make the decisions, even if John has never discussed this with him or her. Without planning, it’s more likely that John will be kept alive artificially even if that’s not what he would have wanted.

Example: Jim has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home. While still healthy he did sign a General Power of Attorney covering financial matters, but his children now disagree on his personal care. Who makes decisions about Jim’s health and personal care?

If Jim has the necessary documents in place, then his Health Care Surrogate may make those decisions. If Jim never appointed such agents and his family can’t agree on his care, then their only option is to petition the court to appoint someone his legal guardian, a lengthy and involved process.

What is a living will?

Even if Jim has named a health care surrogate, that person may not know Jim’s wishes. A living will describes a person’s wishes regarding life-prolonging treatment, but it isn’t really helpful for someone like Jim who has a long term condition. Hopefully John expressed his wishes for his prospective care when he was still able to do so. We help clients do this through a document we call an expanded living will and Personal Care Plan.