The death of a loved one is NEVER easy. What makes it even harder, if that can be imagined, is when you must make a life and death decision for that loved one. That life and death decision is “Do I take my loved one all of life support.” It is never a situation a husband, wife, child or parent ever wants to see. I would argue that making the decision to disconnect all life support and watching your loved one die is the hardest decision one can make.
Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Rivers’ family and Melissa Rivers for making the hard decision, to end life support for her mom, Joan Rivers. Although the proper documents were in place giving Melissa the authority to make this decision, I still cannot fathom actually being the one to make the decision.
I cannot stress enough the importance of having all of your documents in order. Although it is important to have your Last Will and Testament, along with your other estate planning documents in order, it is equally as important to have your disability documents in place. If you cannot make your own decisions, who do you want to step into your shoes and make those decisions, whether they be medical or financial decisions? Remember, you are still ALIVE but not able to make decisions for yourself.
Although Joan Rivers had the proper document in place giving Melissa Rivers her power of attorney to make this type of decision, I always take it a step further with an additional document. This document is known as the Living Will or Directive to Physicians. This document allows you to make your OWN decision whether you want to be hooked up to life support. You are not making your loved one, including your child, make this very difficult decision. You have signed a document while you were of sound mind making your own decision. Although it is still very hard to lose a loved one, at least your are not making them responsible for the decision to end life support.
Please make sure you have the proper disability documents in place. Below you will find a few of the documents and brief explanation on what each does.
Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
This document allows you to name who you want to make business and financial decisions for you in the event of incapacity or disability.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney for healthcare allows you to name who you want to make your medical and health care decisions for you in the event of your incapacity or disability.
Directive to Physician (Living Will)
This declares your wishes with respect to life-prolonging treatments and procedures.
A HIPAA authorization permits you to name individuals to have access to your medical information and records.
For more information, or discussion, please do not hesitate to contact The Ashmore Law Firm at [email protected].