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Protecting Your Body and Your Peace of Mind
All about what you have to know to protect yourself in case you become incapacitated. Making a "Living Will"


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Becoming physically or mentally incapacitated is something that can happen to anyone. Statistically, it is more likely to happen, when you get older. As you are going towards retirement or are already retired, it would be a good idea to give this some thought. It is not about being morbid or paranoid. It is more, a reasonable precaution, that should ensure you will be looked after, if you become incapacitated. That is why we call it


Protecting Your Body and Your Peace of Mind


The Questions you have to ask Yourself
Who will decide ‘what’ for you and your body if you are not in a position to express yourself?
Who has the right to decide for you?
  Your spouse, children, a friend or your doctor?
Do you want to be kept alive on a respirator?
If so, for how long and under what conditions?
Would you want to continue your life in an unconscious state?
  Who will decide whether a coma is temporary or permanent?
Who will pay for your medical care, yourself (from your savings!), the relatives, your insurance, the state or your family?
  Who will decide who pays?

These may be painful questions but they are no less important for being so. There may come a time, when you cannot decide for yourself how to answer these questions.

Therefore, you must think about these things while your are healthy and in sound mind.

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Some Issues You have to Deal with


You could appoint a medical surrogate, either a family member, a friend or a doctor. But, in many states this is a temporary measure, covering only a specific illness or hospital visit.

There is no clear mandate for regulating medical surrogates. Only a few states regulate this area. If you, the patient, has not appointed one
before you are ill or incapacitated, a probate court must appoint one for you.

This appointment comes at a time, where the judge does not know the patient or his/her wishes. The judge can only rule on what "appears" to be fair.
This may not be what you want.

It may also take time and delay important medical care, which will not be in your best interest.

A more permanent solution is a durable power of attorney for health care. For this you must anticipate the worst case scenarios involving your health and potential illnesses or accidents. Then you must think about what you would want in these circumstances and put it in writing.

It is important for you to know what laws your state has regarding protection of the seriously disabled and incapacitate.

It may be a good idea for you to appoint a friend or a relative as "attorney in fact" to act in your interests, not theirs, in case your are incapacitated. They will need to know your wishes, which as mentioned above, should be put in writing.
These will cover your life choices.


For example, you may want to prolong life in case of unconsciousness or total paralysis or, you may NOT want to prolong life.

You may want to issue Do Not Resuscitate Orders if "xyz" occurs.

You may want to specify what kind of narcotic pain relief you want and under what circumstances.

You may want to give instructions regarding organ donation after your death. You can decide which organs to donate and for what purpose: transplant, research, education etc.

The best way to ensure your wishes are meet is to
write them down, now, not later. Then, find out how your state regulates medical care in these circumstances, proceed accordingly, with the necessary legal forms and documents. Make sure you give someone power of attorney who is responsible and about whom you are 100% sure, will have your wishes and best interests at heart.

You can go and see a lawyer and discuss the issues with him/her. A friend may also be of help. Provided the person is linked to you in a true friendship, not some temporary friend, who suddenly disappears! So be careful in your choice. There may also be a need to have a second back up person (the person you appointed could for instance himself be incapacitated while performing his duty for you!).

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Probably the more you think about it, the better your choice. Below are some reading suggestions that might help you, or at the very least set you on the right path!

Books about a "Living Will" and associated Issues from amazon.com

There are many other books available related to issues of creating a "Living Will" or giving "Power of Attorney". The above are just a selection which we found particularly useful and not too technical, to get boring!


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