Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney

spage1May 12, 2006

I am now in charge of my 60 yr old sister who sustained brain damage at birth. She is capable, more so than me at times, of caring for herself but can not be left to live alone. I am in need of a the documents listed above and would appreciate it if someone knows where to download these for free. Income is limited. I have googled and they say free but then there is a charge. I am in Georgia if that makes a difference. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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agnespuffin

There is a site, just keep looking. I downloaded it months ago and I am guess that it is still there. It was for Georgia. Check with you favorite hospital. They may have forms for you. Your doctor may have one also. He/she should be aware of your wishes anyway.
PB

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 5:24PM
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ogoopogo

Also make sure that the local hospital has a copy as well just in case.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 11:05PM
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fairegold

And be sure to tuck a copy of both documents into your purse. I found that when I was at the hospital with Mother, the papers didn't get from the ER up to her room, even tho I KNEW the papers were in the hospital's system. I did not leave that night until the nursing station staff had a copy of all papers in hand.

So always carry a copy with you, and don't just give them to anyone, but let them make a copy.

Also, if you are dealing with a fixed/limited income, be sure to check out other resources such as Legal Aid for Seniors (at 60, she qualifies), or any local senior center or resource center will be able to help.

I found this resource by Googling Georgia+legal+senior. Same goes for resources for people with disabilities.

Good luck, and let us know what works!

Here is a link that might be useful: Legal aid in Atlanta

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 1:02AM
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momj47

Here's a link to a page that links to both the Georgia Living Will and durable power of attorney for healthcare. You can save them to your computer, since they are in PDF format, and print them out (as often as you need to). Fairegold is right about keeping a copy with you at all times. I kept one at work, in my car, etc. for both of my parents. And make sure her physician(s) have a copy as well as any health care facilities that she uses often. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Durable power/Advance directive

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 8:46AM
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asolo

Ditto fairgold above.

I have no doubt you'll be able to have the powers done at little or no charge. However, after that, many people mistakenly assume that simply having had them done solves their problems. It doesn't. You need to have copies of them with you.

The people who will need to follow your directions won't know you or your sister. They will need to see the documents at the moment their services are needed. They are legal documents giving you power nobody else has -- and compels the service providers to honor your instructions. Without them, those people can be in a time-wasting quandary. I carry two copies of them with me at all times -- along with list of meds and known conditions for my charge. On many occasions, I've been told by those who needed to accept my directions that my doing so avoided much delay and worry that they frequently encounter otherwise.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 3:22PM
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fairegold

Mother was in the ER 4 times in one year, and everytime, I provided a new copy, because they didn't have it on file with the rest of her info, even tho each time I was assured that it WOULD be kept on file for her. It never was. When Mother was admitted after a fall and with pneumonia, I gave the paperwork to the ER dept., then again to the admitting clerk, and then when we got upstairs to the room, the paperwork had not followed her, and the floor staff didn't have it.

Sigh.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 3:54PM
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spage1

You have all been so helpful, I knew I could come here and find what I needed. I have printed out the forms, even the Living Will for me and my husband. I will ahve the medical power of attorney signed this week as well as all the living wills. My sister is capable of caring for herself as far as every day issues, just can not make financial decisions or live by herself. Now that she is 60 and has been living with me for the past 9 years it is past time to get these things in order. Anyway, I wanted to thank all of you that responded.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 12:35AM
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asolo

This is first time you mentioned "financial". That is different document from Living Will or Medical Power. Usually referred to as Durable Power of Attorney, this document will allow you to act as your sister's decision-maker, check-signer, etc., in non-medical everyday affairs. Like the other documents, you will want to keep a copy with you.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 1:08PM
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agnespuffin

Right! As asolo points out you need another POA for financial matters. If you haven't already checked with your bank, please do so. Some banks also require a special POA just for their own bank and won't accept any other.
PB

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 1:13PM
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asolo

Oh...and one more thing...these documents are not legal unless the "powers" within them are granted by a legally competent person. If your sister is not legally competent to execute them, you'll not accomplish what you may think you are. If she is legally competent, you're fine. If she's not, you will have to be appointed by a court as her guardian and the court will grant them to you on her behalf. That's a hassle, but you can imagine why the laws are that way.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 5:54PM
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spage1

Who determines who is competent and who isnt? She has always been a dependent on my parents up until their death 25+ years ago. She has been on Medicare as a handicapped child since 1978. She has never been deemed incompetent however. I have considered becoming her legal guardian but wondering what impact would this have on her living will and medical POA? This is all so difficult but necessary. It is really time consuming and I am not complaining. Just this weekend alone I spent over 6 hours trying to understand the Medicare Part D and getting her enrolled in a program. I have to say, it was very frustrating and confusing. But it is done and we will see how much it saves her if any at all. Thanks again for all your help.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 2:45AM
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agnespuffin

You do need to get her declared "incompetent to handle her financial affairs." Medicare and Social Security sometimes get tacky about who is controlling the money. But don't have her declared incompetent until AFTER you have the Living Will, and Med POA done. Then, see about establishing yourself as guardian. It would most likely be done at the same time as the competency hearing. The usual way is before a judge. He/she makes the decision with the testimony of her doctor and his/her own observations.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 7:30AM
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agnespuffin

One very good reason for having yourself declared guardian is that should she need to be admitted to a hospital, she could refuse, and you couldn't do anything about it legally. Some doctors, if they didn't know you and the situation, would even refuse to treat her if she resisted. You really can't tell today what may happen later on. At her age, medical conditions can develop quite rapidly.
PB

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 7:35AM
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asolo

Depending on your situation, this may be a little tricky. The powers you're talking about typically come into play when the person who granted them is "unable or unwilling" to act on their own behalf. (Or some such language.) What that means is that, if your sister is considered legally competent, her instructions will override yours notwithstanding the documents -- if she chooses to assert them. As you may imagine, that is not something you want service-providers to have to sort out on-the-spot. How are they to judge whether or not she's competent? Terrible spot for them to be in.

In many situations, this works very well. Between myself and the person for whom I hold such powers, it's perfect. This person conducts all their own affairs at all times. However, I pay the bills, write the checks, etc., and their bank and doctors know my directives can be relied upon if they're confused or unclear in their presentation. (That has happened countless times.) What my charge can do, they do. What they choose not to, I do on their behalf. However, they're still competent. Their competent instructions trump my "powers" if push comes to shove.

I don't know if its possible for a competent person to simply grant such irrevocable powers to another without legal guardianship being appointed. However, that does sound like a simple question that any lawyer would answer quickly and for free. If so, that would be the way to have the documents executed.

From what you have said, it seems to me you should have guardianship -- which will make you responsible at all times and the documents enforceable at all times -- regardless of what your sister may assert. Guardianships are granted by courts. They're a nuisance, but otherwise pretty easy assuming no objection from your sister. If your sister does object, then you're talking about competency hearings which can become very troublesome.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 4:37PM
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spage1

Thanks again to all. We have recently had medical issues to deal with and the Medical POA as well as regular POA certainly came in use. My sister had her annual physical and during mamagram a lump was discovered and thankful was benign. She was also found to be a diabetic and hopefully diet will be the answer. Its just so hard to make her completely understand her limitations with food. However, if these doctors did not know our situation they would never have discussed this with me. The HIPA act is such a hinderance to some but great for others. In our case a hinderance. Our next step is guardianship and I have an appointment with a attorney to walk me thru this. Again thanks to all, I may ask for more help and I know I can count on you all.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 2:11AM
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