Health Care Proxies & Unwed Couples

The field of elder law encompasses every aspect of aging from a legal and financial perspective, and one of the possibilities that must be addressed if you want to be prepared for any eventuality is that of incapacity. People are routinely living well into their late-eighties and beyond, and when you look at the statistics the possibility of full or partial mental and/or physical incapacity is very real when you reach such an advanced age. For this reason elder law attorneys recommend advance health care directives to their clients, and these include livings wills and health care proxies or durable medical powers of attorney.

A living will is a document within which you state your preferences with regard to the medical procedures that you would be willing to accept and those that you would deny should you be incapacitated and unable to communicate your decisions. The issue that is central to most living wills is that of whether or not you would want to be kept alive through the use of artificial life support systems if you were in a terminal condition. Health care proxies or durable medical powers of attorney are used to name a person that you empower to make medical decisions in your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.

Advance directives are useful for everyone regardless of your marital status, but when you are in a committed relationship but not legally married they are essential if you want your partner to have decision making power in your behalf. The health care proxy or durable medical power of attorney will accomplish this, but the inclusion of a living will is important as well. When you have stated your wishes in writing your proxy has a guide to go by if an issue arises that was not expressly covered in the living will, but in addition, the rest of your family will know that he or she is acting in accordance with your wishes.

About Ronald Morton

Ronald Morton is a Certified Elder Law Attorney practicing in the areas of wills, trusts, estate planning, probate and estate administration, asset protection planning, Medicaid planning, and Veterans benefits law throughout Mississippi.

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