At the Meurer Law Office in Denver, we know that preparing for end-of-life healthcare when you’re healthy is sometimes very hard to do. But with a little planning, including power of attorney and the living will for your healthcare, you can save your loved ones a lot of heartaches and you can feel at peace knowing that your healthcare decisions will be carried out. Our attorneys can discuss with you how these work and help you through the process.
Here’s how the living will and power of attorney for healthcare work.
This legal document sets out what kind of healthcare you want and don’t want if you become unable to talk and you can’t make your own decisions after an injury or illness. Your decisions can be made now and clearly detailed so there are no questions when the time comes for those choices, listing what kind of procedures you will allow. If you want, you can give only general parameters and determine who will make those specific choices for you when the time comes. Whether you decide to give precise details or only set out some general guidance you should also have us draw up a power of attorney because it’s hard to anticipate every circumstance you may face in the future.
This allows you to put crucial decisions in the hands of someone you trust. You will designate a healthcare agent who knows what you want and can follow your wishes even if you have never specifically detailed all your choices. You can’t foresee every possible scenario. The power of attorney sets out someone to make those decisions that aren’t spelled out in your living will.
The healthcare agent that you designate can’t overrule any of the provisions you have already stated in your living will. They must abide by your decisions but when a situation arises that was not anticipated in your living will, then your agent will make a decision for you.
Nothing happens with these documents until you need them. That means when your doctor determines that you lack the capacity to make your own healthcare decisions, which generally means you don’t understand the nature and consequences of the choices you are required to make and you can’t communicate your decisions orally, in writing, or through gestures.
It’s important to keep in mind that whoever you designate as your healthcare agent for your power of attorney must always act in your best interests.
The power of attorney and the living will for your healthcare will end at your death. Otherwise only your or a court can end them. If you choose your spouse as a healthcare agent and then you divorce, an alternate agent, if you named one, would take over making decisions. We always suggest naming alternates when you draft the original document and designate a new agent when you get divorced. Our attorneys at the Meurer Law Office in Denver can help you draw up these difficult healthcare documents so you can feel confident that your wishes will be followed when you can’t speak for yourself.