Sunday, March 8, 2009

Who Will You Trust To Carry Out Your Wishes

You must have a plan that will dispose of your property and also address problems your family will face if you become incapacitated something that can happen at any time. You need a living will, a health-care proxy and a durable power-of-attorney

Let’s discuss advance directives often called health-care proxies and living wills

Not very long ago there was no such protection, and your family would be left to do as they wished, allowing an already emotional event to be further complicated by being forced to make these decisions.

The Supreme Court's 1990 Cruzan decision concerning the 1983 car accident that left Nancy Cruzan in a vegetative state. Her family wanted her to be disconnected from all life support. Since there was no indication of what Nancy Cruzan wanted The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Missouri's decision.

You need a living will that will clearly state what medical treatments you want and what life-sustaining measures are acceptable to you.

A Health-care proxy gives the person of your choice the right to make health-care decisions when you're incapacitated. Different then a living will, It does not go into details. it just gives the authority to a person of your choice, who will follow out your wishes.

Having both a living will and a health-care proxy protects you as a living will is a backup to a health-care proxy as a living wills is recognized by case law in most states. So if you are on vacation or on business in another state you will be covered.

You want the protection a living will allows you in case the person you have chosen is challenged. Having a living will is clear and undisputed evidence of what you wanted.

On the other side of the coin a health-care proxy is a backup to the living will. A case in which a hospital refused a husband's request to terminate his wife's life support, despite the instructions in her living will. The hospital's lawyers argued that it was not clear she wished to be taken off life support. She lived many more months at a cost of $250,000, and the hospital is now suing him for payment.

These documents can be updated as medicine advances progress and your wishes are rethought.

That’s what’s great about a health-care proxy you don’t have to foresee every possible scenario once you have a person in place you trust.

Jeffrey Broobin is a free-lance writer on family and finance issues; his main goal is to help people during their complicated period of life. Website:; Email:

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