3 Essential Documents for Healthcare Planning: Part 2

This post is a continuation of Part 1 in this series.

There are a number of methods to draft a Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Will.  In Maryland there are several options we can use to craft these legal documents.

The Attorney General of Maryland offers a free form brochure known as the Maryland Advance Directive.  At the end of this brochure, there is an 8 page document that contains forms for both a Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Will.

This form can be downloaded here.

 

How to Fill Out These Forms

 

When filling out the form be sure to initial next to the powers you wish to grant your agent and next to the directions you want the doctors to follow at the end of your life in the living will.  Cross out anything that you do not wish to include in the documents.

When you sign the form, have two individuals witness your signature.  These witnesses must be over the age of 18 and at least one of them cannot benefit financially from your death, nor can that person handle your estate.  It is not necessary to have this document notarized.

Once you have drafted your MPOA and Living Will, make sure you give copies of it to your family, doctor, financial planner, and trusted friends.  Also, bring a copy of your MPOA with you to the hospital and have a card in your wallet that says you have an advance medical directive.

This document, once in force, remains in effect until it is revoked.  IF you wish to replace a document in the future with an updated version, destroy all known copies of the document or write REVOKED across a copy and deliver it to your primary physician, your lawyer, and financial planner.

 

Five Wishes

Another option is to utilize the form known as Five Wishes from AgingWithDignity.org.  Five Wishes was drafted by Jim Towey with the help of The American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging.  This document is regarded as a legal Medical Power of Attorney and a living will in 42 states, including Maryland.  In those states that do not accept Five Wishes, it is important to have that state’s version of the Advance Directive form filled out.

Five Wishes offers a series of questions that help you flesh out how you would like to be treated in your final days.  The following is a list of the Five Wishes you would specify in this document:

  • Wish 1: The Person I Want To Make Health Care Decisions For Me When I Can’t Make Them For Myself
  • Wish 2: My Wish For The Kind of Medical Treatment I Want Or Don’t Want
  • Wish 3: My Wish For How Comfortable I Want To Be
  • Wish 4: My Wish For How I Want People to Treat Me
  • Wish 5: My Wish For What I Want My Loved Ones to Know

 

At around $5 for a single form, Five Wishes is an inexpensive way to write both a Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Will with comprehensive answers to how you want to be treated.

 

Finally, a DNR form for Maryland can be found here, at the Emergency Medical Services Systems website.

 

Dealing with the imminent loss of a loved-one will be hard enough on our families.  It is important for us to take charge of how we wish to be treated in our final days.  Proper planning will allow our families to spend less time on the legal stuff and more time healing and celebrating our lives.

So, do you use a medical power of attorney or living will?  Do you have any questions about filling out the forms?

Let me know in the comments!

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