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Living Will, Will, DNR, etc...


Darlene

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We have set this week to begin putting together all our wants and wishes while my husband is in good spirits so that we will not have to contend with angry family if the time should come. It will probably take a couple weeks as we will discuss it, put it away, and come back to it many times because we just can't talk about it all at once.

I expect opposition from his family every step of the way, so he wants to go ahead and put everything in place now. I also will be doing this for myself just incase anything should happen to me.

Can anyone point me in the right direction of finding a sample of these things online? I don't type well (two fingers only) but I will if I need to.

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Dear Darlene,

I suggest you have these documents drawn up by an attorney in your state. All state laws are different, and since you expect family problems, an attorney will help cover every detail. Also, the laws for witnessing and notarizing are different in every state, and some documents HAVE to be drawn up by an attorney.

For example, in Indiana, Powers of Attorney and Deeds have to be prepared by an attorney. Also, in Indiana, you need a form appointing a health care representative to accompany a Living Will. Living Wills and Wills have to be executed in front of two witnesses, etc. Also some documents must be recorded by county recorders.

It doesn't usually cost much to have this done, and it's worth it.

Always keep several copies of the Living Will, Health Care Representative appointment, and Power of Attorney with you in your car. You never know when you will need them. I have a small briefcase in my car with copies of these documents for my family. I suggest executing two original Wills for both of you - one that the attorney can keep and one that you can keep in a safe deposit box, and of course several copies for you and anyone else that you want to have it - just in case something would happen to both of you at the same time.

Best of luck,

Love,

Peggy

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Darlene,

I second the attorney idea. My husband and I spent about $200 for an attorney to fill out all the paperwork and have it filed at the courthouse. She went through all the questions AND added the paragraph that anyone contesting the will gets nothing.

As for the living will, send GinnyD a PM. If you fill one of these out, you may not want to "register" it at the hospital. Basically, they are looking for a DNR order. I just had surgery last week. If I had turned in my directive and they had a copy prior to surgery, they would not have revived me if things had 'quit' on the operating table. Uh, no.... I was having a hysterectomy and wanted to be treated as any patient having a hysterectomy - jumpstart me if the need arises!

If I were slowly dying of spreading cancer and out of my mind with pain, leave the jumper cables on the garage floor, please, but NOT for a stubbed toe or bee sting or....

I'm not saying don't have one filled out, but don't always offer it up. If you're in the emergency room and are asked, you can say you have/he has one, but it's not with you - then if you need it, you can produce it but if not, he/you will get all the care he/you need.

(Just a suggestion, talking to an attorney will help with that, too.)

Take care, and good luck!

Becky

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Darlene,

Everyone is posting such good, experienced advice. Jim and I already had wills, durable/medical POAs, and living wills in place before his diagnosis due to some health issues a few years before (we used an attorney for this). However, I could not make myself bring up the subject of the DNR with Jim, even though I knew what he would want if the time should come. Just didn't want to bring it up and appear that I didn't share his hope.

So, his wonderful Doctor asked him about it when Jim was in the hospital in early March. The doctor knew I had not been able to mention it. His doctor wrote Jim's name and the words "DNR" on a prescription and just told me to keep that with us. Said it would suffice. The hospital did give me the form and we did finally sign that one after we got home. As Snowflake reminds us, you want you and your husband to be in control of invoking those options, not the hospital.

Good luck,

Lynne

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It is good to get all the paperwork in order. However, as to DNR, there is a caveat (warning) Lucie and I ran into.

DNR is intended for the end times usually. We did not realize, with a DNR in place (as we had), that her pneumonia could not be treated aggressively. When she entered ICU two years ago with bilateral pneumonia, they eventually moved her out of ICU and into a private room to die! The DNR prohibited the staff from any heroic measures.

Of course, we could override the DNR at any time. We just didn't realize it. We finally got the doctor to the side and got clear that we wanted all treatment to get her over the pneumonia. She was not dying of cancer at the time. With the proper paper signed, they moved her back into ICU and gave her the treatment she needed to recover from the pneumonia.

Now we are aware and forearmed for such an occasion. Don

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Mark and I ordered the booklets described on the Five Wishes web page and they are great for helping you put a lot of things in order. You still need an attorney for wills, though. Once you get all this done, you'll feel a real weight lifted off your shoulders and can focus on happier things.

Here's the five wishes website:

http://www.agingwithdignity.org/5wishes.html

Leslie

P.S. Thanks, Don, for that eye-opening information. Hadn't even thought about that and I'll bet it comes up as an issue all the time.

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consulting a lawyer is a good idea, especially because these documents are governed by state law. if you don't want to use a lawyer, check your state's laws for forms, most have them. also, look out for loopholes like the one Don described (yikes, Don!) and pay close attention to your state's requirements re: nutrition and hydration. make sure you do the complete set: living will, durable (goes into effect when signed) or springing )goes into effect when person is incapacitated) general power of attorney, health care proxy and last will & testament. also, to be safe, notarize a document that authorizes your agent (husband, whoever) to discuss your medial information with your health care providers (for more info on this, google HIPAA).

xoxo

amie

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Thanks you all, now I have more questions than I started with, but I guess I better get them all answered now….

~Peggy~ I already keep a three ring notebook with all his medical records in it. I can just add this to the back until needed. Thanks for replying looking at your ‘signature’ this must have been hard to reply to.

~Snowflake~ Thanks, I had already thought of not showing it to just everyone until it is ‘needed’ but wasn’t sure I could to that. That really helps knowing how to manage things for other health care issues, since he does have so many.

~ Don and Lynn~ Thanks that is great advice on DNRs, I wasn’t sure how things worked with a DNR and he certainly doesn’t want one flying around just yet.

~ Leslie~ GREAT SITE!

~bunny~ Ok a complete set? Are all these things found together? How do I find each so I can review our choices BEFORE we decide to see an attorney? And the last one, is that so his doctors can discuss his medical issues with me?

This is not going to be fun, but I think I will feel better knowing they are all in place. I really think he is in denial about the seriousness of everything, and I want him to be able to make those important decisions about his future care now before he doesn't feel like it. I sure don't want chemo side effects to make those decisions for him, and I can see that hapening.

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Darlene,

You are asking lots of great questions. Good for you! I know this isn't easy, but what it can be helpful.

My mom had her paperwork all organized before her Dx (didn't want to leave us kids to deal w/ guilt and decisions and disconnections...she had to do all of that with my dad). She was surprised to find that a friend of ours had trouble w/ her father's DNR. He went in for surgery, and they told him they would have to disconnect his Pacemaker, since it would 'jumpstart' him. They dropped the DNR at that point.

Good luck with all the legalities.

:) Kelly

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Thanks, the pacemaker one is one that I had not thought of as being a problem or concern since it is already in place. I guess that should be added in Special Instructions or Additional Requests.

I also found this great website where all of these important documents are easy to download and change to have your own name and personal information added.

http://www.familycaregiversonline.com

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~bunny~ Ok a complete set? Are all these things found together? How do I find each so I can review our choices BEFORE we decide to see an attorney? And the last one, is that so his doctors can discuss his medical issues with me?

some states, like NY, allow health care proxies and medical powers of attorney to be in one document. when I say I complete set, I mean that you'll have all your bases covered - medical wishes and decision making provided for, access to financials, etc., during periods of incapacity, and a will. as for 'finding' them, I would just go to your state's .gov website and search under "power of attorney", "health care proxy", "living will" etc.

and yes, you're exactly right - the release is for a new FEDERAL law (so it applies in all states) called (HIPAA)for short that has some health care practitioners a little freaked out. you've probably been signing "privacy notices" at all new doc appointments. that comes out of the same law. simply put, the law ups the ante on medical privacy and release of information.

most likely, once you have a relationship with the doctors and their team, it won't be an issue. but, because I am a professional worrier :wink: , it can't hurt to just put down in paper "I give so-and-so permission to discuss my protected health information with my medical practitioners..."

talk to the lawyer about it. like I said, the other stuff is state-by-state so I think it's great you've decided to get help with it.

xoxo

amie

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I think it is so wise of you to think of these things and get them in order. The steps you are taking is something all of us should do, regardless of our health status. I would use the online information as a guideline and then consult an attorney in your area to prepare the documents. Your attorney can also keep copies of your documents, should you ever need to locate them quickly. Doing the paperwork ourselves if nice and saves a few dollars but when it comes to end of life issues, there are a lot of loopholes a good attorney can find in case of a dispute.

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I had mine set up by an attorney too, and we fixed it so that in one document is the durable POA and the living will. The POA, with my physician, can invoke the living will, but NOT the hospital or its staff.

These can sound intimidating and maybe even a bit morbid to people sometimes, but as for me, it gave me a secure feeling that my wishes would be carried out if I were unable to call the shots.

Many good wishes to you.

Di

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