Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney are commonly referred to as “advanced directives” because they give health care providers and family members direction for your medical treatment and end of life care should you be unable to communicate your wishes.
Living WillsDespite its name, a Living Will is actually not a will at all; it is a legal document used to set forth your wishes regarding the use or non-use of artificial life-sustaining support in the event that you become incapacitated, terminally ill, or permanently unconscious. A Living Will only becomes effective when you cannot communicate your wishes and are permanently unconscious or terminally ill. A Living Will can be changed or revoked only by you and trumps a Health Care Power of attorney under Ohio Law.
Health Care Powers of AttorneyA Health Care Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorizes another person (your agent) to obtain your health information and to make health care decisions for you that are consistent with your wishes. This document gives your agent access to your medical history and diagnosis to assist in making informed decisions regarding your care. In the event that you are deemed terminally ill, or permanently incapacitated by two physicians, your agent will be the one to order the withdrawal or continuation of life-sustaining treatment or artificially or technologically supplied nutrition or hydration, whichever is consistent with your wishes.