This is the next post in a series of articles providing information about powers of attorney in Hartford, Connecticut. The previous article discussed the potential consequences of selecting an agent to take actions on your behalf pursuant to a durable power of attorney. Careful thought should be given to the choice of the agent and the scope of the powers granted. For obvious reasons, one should appoint a trustworthy representative and limit the authority to accomplish the desired objectives. In this post, we will discuss another important topic – advanced healthcare directives, including a living will and appointment of a healthcare representative. To ensure that your desires are documented legally and are enforceable, consult with an experienced attorney if you have questions about your power of attorney documents. If you need assistance, contact our office today to speak to a lawyer.
As discussed earlier in this series, by issuing a durable power of attorney, one appoints an agent to act on their behalf for the purposes specifically or broadly outlined in the document. These often include authority to make banking, financial or other contractual decisions on behalf of the principal if the principal is incapacitated or otherwise unavailable to do take such actions. Similarly, Connecticut law allows residents to prepare instructions for end-of-life healthcare decisions and appoint a representative to make healthcare decisions on one’s behalf by signing advanced healthcare directives. These are often referred to as living wills or healthcare powers of attorney.
A living will is a document instructing physicians about an individual’s wishes for medical treatment when that person has been determined by the physician to be terminally ill or permanently unconscious and unable to communicate. A living will may contain a variety of instructions, including directions regarding the provision of surgeries, ventilation equipment or ongoing nutrition in such state. It may also address an individual’s desires about anatomical gifts after his or her death. One may also appoint a representative to make medical decisions on your behalf in an advanced healthcare directive. If you become permanently incapacitated, the representative will follow instructions contained in a living will. If no living will exists, the representative will be asked to make decisions on the principal’s behalf. Having a living will in place may relieve the burden on your representative, who may be unsure about your preferences regarding medical treatment.
Similar to a durable power of attorney, the person chosen to be a medical representative should be trustworthy and familiar with your preferences and instructions. Individuals signing advanced healthcare directives are encouraged to speak with their family members, physicians and legal counsel to ensure that their desires and instructions are properly documented and enforceable. Our firm has over 50 years of experience representing clients in Hartford, Connecticut. We also service the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell. If you need assistance, contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.