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How To Create A Living Will

By Jeff Moore

Health care proxies are a type of advanced health care directives that allow you to express how you would like your medical treatments to be handled if you are unable to communicate with your doctors and other medical staff.

When and if you decide to fill out a health care proxy the first thing you need to do is sit down and read what how your state handles health care proxies. Each state is just a little different. Some states will only allow the use of a health care proxy if the patient is terminally ill or in a coma. It might be in your best interests to hire an attorney who understands how health care proxies work in your particular state. There are also several online law sources that can help answer many of your questions.

Health care proxies are binding. Your doctors are required to work within the boundaries you wrote if they are unable to communicate with you. They are bound by your directions.

When you are typing a health care proxy make you are very clear about what it is. State very clearly that it is a health care proxy or advance health care directive establishing what you will and won't accept in medical treatment. Health care proxies should be neatly typed.

When you are drafting a health care proxy by very clear about what health care situations the proxy covers. Try to consider every situation that could arise.

When you are writing a health care proxy make sure you include a list of any and all health care treatments that you personally object to. Some people do not want any blood transfers, others don't want to be hooked up to a respirator, and still others don't want to be fed food and water through a stomach tube or IV. This would be a good place to list any alternate options. Try to consider every and all medical situation and include all of them in the proxy.

In your health care proxy you should name a person who has authority to make decisions for you if you are unable to communicate. Before you include your contact person discuss the health care proxy and the medical choices you have made. If you do not include a name in your health care proxy the doctors will consult with your closet family members, often excluding life partners and friends. It doesn't hurt to have an alternate person listed in case your original person can not be reached. Make sure you include your contact person’s full name, current address and phone number. Include alternate phone numbers.

When your health care proxy is complete have it signed and dated it in front of a notary and a minimum of two witnesses.

When your health care proxy is complete keep it in a safe place where it can be easily found in the event of a medical emergency. For a fee some organizations will make sure your health care proxy is available to any doctor who accesses your medical files.

Health care proxies are also called advance health care directives and living wills.

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