Living Wills And Medical Powers Of Attorney

Having a family member become seriously injured or ill and be rendered unable to care for themselves or make medical decisions is one of the most difficult obstacles that a family can face. The stress of dealing with a serious illness or injury is often compounded when there is uncertainty about the wishes of a family member regarding the medical care he or she desires to receive. In some cases, estranged family members, doctors, judges, or others who know little about your circumstances and desires may try to intrude upon such highly personal matters. Thus, it is crucial that every person clearly set forth their desires with regard to this important issue in advance. Fortunately, there are several options that allow individuals and families to do so before tragedy strikes.

A living will is a document that states an individual's preference with regard to end-of-life decision making. This document can set forth your wishes regarding whether, in the case of a terminal illness or persistent vegetative state (for example, a coma), you desire your life to be prolonged through artificial means and, if so, specifically what medical procedures and treatments you wish to undertake.

A living will is most often coupled with a durable medical power of attorney, and these two documents together are referred to as an "Advance Medical Directive." A medical power of attorney is intended to designate a person - often a trusted spouse, child, relative, or close friend - to make health care decisions for you when you are unable to do so, regardless of whether the cause of the incapacity is a terminal illness or vegetative state.

Having a well-drafted and thorough Advance Medical Directive in place is important to give you and your family the peace of mind of knowing that your medical needs will be taken care of in accordance with your wishes in the event of your incapacity. Contact Weisberg & Weisberg in Newport News or Norfolk, VA today to discuss your options with regard to dealing with this critical issue.