In the event of a medical emergency where you become unable to speak for yourself, a properly-executed Living Will (also called an Advance Directive) makes known your wishes about pain relief, care procedures, and artificial breathing and feeding. This is one of the simplest, most important legal documents a person can have.



If you are in a car accident and lose consciousness, become mentally disabled, or otherwise lose the ability to make medical decisions, emergency personnel will look to your Health Care Power of Attorney to determine if you have appointed someone to speak for you. Medical facilities in your State of residence will be more familiar with paperwork from that State, but it is not always necessary to get new powers of attorney just because you've moved: check with a competent advisor to see what may have changed from place to place, or year to year, and make sure that you're as prepared as you can be.




A living will and a power of attorney for health care are relatively simple documents, but a lifetime's worth of health care is rarely simple. Myriad more complex legal documents can affect your comfort, the details of your care, and your peace of mind. Good legal counsel can help you understand what these documents are, write up the ones that are right for you, and make them work the way you want them to.