Living Wills

Living Will

New Hampshire Living Will Lawyers

A living will is a document you prepare in advance to direct that, in the event you are on life support and have no chance of recovery, then the doctors shall not use advanced methods just to prolong the dying process. A living will is also often known as an advanced directive.

What’s the Difference Between a Living Will and a Power of Attorney?

A living will is related to a health care power of attorney as they both prepare for the same event. The key difference is that a living will provides instructions to health care providers. On the other hand, a power of attorney appoints a specific person to make decisions for you if you are not able.

New Hampshire has a law on how a living will and power of attorney should be written. To avoid any confusion, it is best to use the language written in the law.

The Key Provisions of the Health Care Power of Attorney

In the health care power of attorney you appoint a specific person to make health care decision for you in the event you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

This document also includes specific directions to the power of attorney. First, in the event that you are near death and there is no chance of recovery, you can choose whether the doctors should use life sustaining treatment or not.

The second hypothetical event is if you are permanently unconscious, even if not necessarily “near death”. In that event, you can also decide in advance whether life sustaining treatment should be used.

Finally, you can include any additional instructions to your power of attorney in a blank space.

The Key Provisions of the Living Will

In the living will you state that if you are near death and there is no chance of recover, then you do not want doctors to use life sustaining treatment that would only prolong death. In this document you can specifically decide whether, even if all other life sustaining treatment has been withdraw, the doctors should still provide artificial nutrition or hydration.

Remember the Terry Schiavo Case?

Most people, especially the younger ones, don’t want to think about this horrible situation. And indeed it’s unlikely. But sadly, we all know that sometimes tragedy strikes unexpectedly. A little bit of planning goes a long way.

To illustrate the importance of this, consider Terry Schiavo case. Terry was a young woman who had unexpectedly had a heart attack and left in a seemingly permanent coma. The dispute between her husband and her parents about whether to end life support turned into a ferocious legal battle. Because Terry did not make a living will or power of attorney in advance, the courts had to make tough decisions for her.

Contact the Lawyers at Cohen & Winters About Helping You Prepare a Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney

While they can be done separately, many people elect to prepare a living will and health care power of attorney at the same time they do their estate planning. If you do not have these documents inĀ  place, contact our office. We would be happy to discuss how we can help.