If there is one lesson we can all learn from the untimely death of actress, Natasha Richardson, it is to make sure we all have two critical legal documents in place regarding our health care. The two documents are a health care proxy and a living will.
The health care proxy appoints an agent to make all decisions regarding health care and end-of-life care, including refusal of treatment. The agent’s power to handle your affairs goes into effect only when you are no longer able to make decisions on your own.
The second critical document is a living will, also known as an advance directive, which allows you to state what kind of medical care you want and which life-support procedures you do not want. Your living will acts as directions for your health care proxy to follow.
Nobody expects to fall into a coma after a seemingly minor fall while skiing down a bunny slope and THAT’S THE POINT. Make sure your documents are in place, plan ahead, and have reasonable certainty that your health care wishes will be carried out in the event you cannot make health care decisions for yourself.