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Advanced Healthcare Directives

The advance health care directive is a limited durable power of attorney created only for the purpose of making health care decisions.

It can do everything that a living will can do. In addition, it gives your agent the power to actively remind your physician of your wishes. Your agent will make all of your health care decisions in the event you become incapacitated. The agent must follow your wishes and must consider your physician's recommendations. Any decision must also be within the range of accepted medical practice.

Part of creating an advance health care directive is choosing an agent. The agent is the person who you assign to make health care decisions for you. You need to think carefully about who knows you best, and who will be able to speak on your behalf regarding your health care matters. You should also consider where the person lives and whether that person could be present when health care decisions need to be made.

You should discuss your health care wishes with your agent. You should also consider naming a second, and even a third, person to act as an agent in the event that your first choice is unavailable or is unwilling to make the decision.

Once you have signed an advance health care directive, you should inform you physician, your family, and your religious advisor. If you change your mind after creating the document, you can amend or revoke it at any time.

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