1. Living Will – This is not the same as your Last Will and Testament. Your Last Will and Testament tells the court what you would like done with your assets after you pass away. A Living Will (a/k/a Declaration to Physicians) answers 3 questions.
Yes or No, I want feeding tubes used if I have a terminal condition.
Yes or No, I want life-sustaining procedures used if I am in a persistent vegetative state.
Yes or No, I want feeding tubes used if I am in a persistent vegetative state.
A Living Will does not allow for an agent to make decision if you become incapacitated. Examples of decisions: Whether or not you may be moved to a nursing home. What type of care you will receive. What type of medication you are allowed to take or not take.
This document ends after you pass away.
2. Healthcare Power of Attorney – This document allows you to pick your healthcare agent instead of having the courts choose one for you if you become incapacitated (dementia, Alzheimer's, unconscious). You tell your agent your specific wishes for your healthcare. The document allows your agent to determine end of life procedures (terminal conditions) and to determine nursing home or community based residential stays. Also, if you are pregnant your agent would be able to determine decisions regarding your pregnancy. You are still able to communicate in any manner, including by blinking your eyes and are capacitated then you may make your own decisions.
Your health care agent may not admit or commit you on an inpatient basis to an institution for mental diseases, an intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded, a state treatment facility, or a treatment facility. That would fall under a different statue and the agent would need court approval. Your health care agent may not consent to experimental mental health research or psychosurgery, electroconvulsive treatment, or drastic mental health treatment procedures for you. That would fall under a different statue and the agent would need court approval.
With a Healthcare Power of Attorney you consent to allow you agent to get past the HIPAA laws. Your agent will be able to speak with your physicians and review all of your medical records. By allowing to get past the HIPAA laws they will be able to make an informed decision regarding your healthcare.
Five Wishes is a type of Healthcare Power of Attorney. Many organizations have their own Healthcare Powers of Attorney. Most Healthcare Powers of Attorney are accepted in other states. This is a MUST document for anyone over the age of 18. Once you reach 18 years of age, no one else, not your parents, spouse, or child may make decision for you if you become incapacitated.
3. Organ Donor – Most people do not even think of this as an advance directive because it is on most people’s driver’s license and many times can be found on the healthcare power of attorney. This document allows you to donate your organs, tissues or body parts to help save the life of another person. Also, you can decide if you would like to donate your body for studies or even your skeleton. This does not mean that you will receive less care by the hospital, first responders or any other medical personal. This does not affect your preferences for your funeral or burial.
4. Do Not Resuscitate DNR – A document, which directs emergency medical technicians, first responders and emergency medical personnel to not perform certain specific interventions. The person must be at least 18 years of age, requests and signs the order, is not known to be pregnant and has a terminal condition or a medical condition such that, were they to suffer cardiac or pulmonary failure, resuscitation would be unsuccessful, cause significant harm or pain or would be successful only temporarily. They are given a bracelet to wear.
Emergency Provider as appropriate will:
Position for comfort
Provide pain medication
Provide emotional support
Contact hospice or home health agency if either has been involved in patient’s care or the patient’s attending physician.
Emergency Provider will NOT:
Perform chest compressions
Insert advanced airways
Administer cardiac resuscitation drugs
Provide ventilator assistance
Terminal Condition – An incurable condition caused by injury or illness that reasonable medical judgment finds would cause death imminently, so that the application of life-sustaining procedures serves only to postpone the moment of death.
5. Authorization for Final Disposition – This document allows you designate another adult representative to make funeral arrangements and final disposition on behalf of the declarant. Many people create this documents when they have a second marriage or they know their family has different ideas on what should happen for a funeral. This is one document that will help your family during a very stress time period because it is less decisions that they will need to make.
Suggested Special Directions
1. Decide who you would like to make decisions regarding your funeral
2. Arrangements for a viewing.
3. Funeral ceremony, memorial service, graveside service, or other last rite.
4. Burial, cremation and burial or other disposition, or donation of the declarant’s body after death.
5. Suggested Instructions Concerning Religious Observances
6. Suggested Source of Funds for Implementing Final Disposition Directions and Instructions
6. Durable Power of Attorney for Finance and Property – Besides a Healthcare Power of Attorney this is one of the most important documents you can create during your life time. Anyone over 18 years of age should have this document. This document does end once you pass away. “Durable” means that if you become incapacitated the documents is still good.
These are some of the areas that the document should address: Payment of bills, Banking, Insurance and annuities, Accounts, Real Estate; tangible personal property; stocks, bonds, securities and U.S. securities, Operation of entity or business, Borrowing, Taxes, Retirement plans, Benefits from governmental programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or civil or military service, Gifting of assets, Title 19 benefits, Estates, trusts, and other beneficial interests, special needs trust, WisPact Trust, Custodial accounts, Family support, Lawsuits, and Guardianship.
Advance Directives are designed to protect you and to act for you when you are unable to without having a guardian appointed by court. It is very important that anyone over the age of 18 has a healthcare power of attorney and a durable power of attorney for finance. Even if you are in good health, you never know when you might be in an accident. If your child has just turned 18 or they are off to college, this is a perfect gift to give to them and a piece of mind for yourself. These documents will make your wishes known and relieve some stress from your family and friends during a difficult time period.