Advance Directives, Living Wills, and Powers of Attorney

Indiana Living Will Lawyers and Advance Directive Attorneys

An “advance directive” is a broad term that refers to spoken and written instructions about future medical care and treatment.   Advance directives can concern aspects such as living wills or living will declarations, appointment of healthcare representative and powers of attorney, and organ donation.  In Indiana, all adults should consider having executed advance directives – such as living wills, appointments of healthcare representative, and powers of attorney – to ensure that their wishes will be honored during their lifetime if they become incapacitated and are unable to speak for themselves.

What is an Indiana Living Will or Indiana Declaration?

An Indiana Living Will (also referred to as an Indiana declaration or Indiana living will declaration) is a statement that directs medical personnel concerning whether life-prolonging procedures should or should not be administered when a person has a terminal illness or medical condition in which it expected that the person will not recover.  Often, living wills direct medical personnel to refrain from any medical treatment beyond providing sustenance and comfort in end-of-life situations.

Living wills and advance directives are only operative if the person is not able to communicate his or her wishes to medical personnel.

Indiana Appointment of Health Care Representative and Power of Attorney

In Indiana, people can protect their interests in the event of an unforeseen through the appointment of a Healthcare Representative and Power of Attorney.  Like a Living Will, the Healthcare Representative and Power of Attorney does not become effective unless the person is unable to communicate his or her wishes.

An Appointment of Healthcare Representative and General Durable Power of Attorney generally involves two aspects.  The first aspect concerns the appointment of a Healthcare Representative, who is vested with the authority to act on behalf of the incapacitated person (referred to as the “principal”) with regard to making medical decisions.

The second aspect – the General Durable Power of Attorney – often vests a person (called the “attorney-in-fact”) with a wide range of powers, which can include decisions about the management of the principal’s assets and finances (these decisions always must be for the benefit of the principal).  The attorney-in-fact does not have to be (and usually is not) an attorney, and this person also may be the same person designated as the healthcare representative.

Unlike a Living Will, in which a principal must be in a terminal stage in order to be effective, a person does not have to be in a terminal stage in order for an Appointment of Healthcare and General Durable Power of Attorney to become effective.  If a person sustains a traumatic and permanent brain injury, for example, the designated healthcare representative and attorney-in-fact would become vested with decision-making authority concerning the affairs of the injured person (assuming the injured person is unable to make his or her wishes known).

As Indiana Advance Directive and Living Will Declaration Lawyers, We Can Meet With You to Document Your Desires in the Event of Incapacitation 

Once we understand your wishes, we can prepare the applicable legal documents that will help ensure that your wishes are respected in the event of incapacitation.