When a loved one, no matter their age or condition, becomes seriously ill, they may not be able to care for themselves. At times like these, Maryland family members step up to help make decisions regarding their health and life. What legal rights do family members have regarding the decision-making power of an ill or seriously injured loved one?
It could be costly and take a long time for a family member to become authorized as a legal guardian. In order for a family member to automatically have these rights and avoid the hassle and costs, four key end-of-life documents could be drafted, including a health care power of attorney. This document gives a loved one the right to make medical decisions on one's behalf, if the person is rendered unable to do so. This can include major decisions such as consenting to surgery or authorizing life support.
There are other documents that can help prepare for this type of scenario. One of the most important is known as a living will. This document provides written guidance regarding the type of treatment the person does or does not want during a terminal illness or when suffering from critical injury. This, along with other estate planning documents, can help ensure the wishes of a loved one are upheld even after they have become seriously ill or incapacitated.
It can be difficult to sit down and draft these end-of-life documents, but it is important that these details are discussed and memorialized in writing. Many people who go through the process of executing these documents feel a sense of relief that they will make things easier for the loved ones who will take care of them should they become incapacitated later on. Maryland attorneys with experience in estate planning can help people to prepare these and other documents and ensure that their wishes are carried out.