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How A Living Will Differs From A Durable Power Of Attorney

End-of-life issues are often hard to bring up with aging parents. Even if you have discussed whether they would want to have life support if they were in a coma with no hope of recovery, that is not enough for the medical community. To avoid a controversy for your family, you need to put these wishes in writing.

The document where you would do that is called a living will (also commonly referred to as a health care proxy or advance heath care directive).

At Postic & Bates, our estate planning lawyers have helped many couples and families throughout the Oklahoma City metro area create living wills. This document allows you to convey to family members and health care providers whether you want artificial life support if you are in a terminal condition, a persistently unconscious or vegetative condition, or an end-stage condition with no hope of recovery.

What Are Your Options?

The only way a family member can discontinue your medical treatment in an end-of-life situation is through a living will. A durable power of attorney for health care allows your trusted loved one (legally referred to as an "agent") to make treatment decisions only.

Your living will allows you to name a health care proxy, who is given authority to carry out your wishes. Often a spouse, child or trusted friend is selected for this role. Oklahoma has a statutory form that allows you to select one of three choices:

  • You don't want artificial life support and you don't want a feeding tube. A feeding tube is defined as artificial nutrition and hydration.
  • You don't want artificial life support, but you do want a feeding tube.
  • You want to be kept alive by any means.

By formally sharing your wishes in a living will, you can avoid family disputes over whether doctors should put in a feeding tube. You may also remove guilt from your loved ones' shoulders when they decline a feeding tube or other artificial means to keep you alive. By creating a living will, your decisions can be followed.

Find Reliable Answers

To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns with one of our attorneys, please call our office at 405-814-6524 or toll free at 800-575-6838. You can also reach us by email.

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