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Living Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care

Why A Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?

A Living Will lets you decide, in advance, on withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment, typically during end-of-life situations. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care allows you to choose a person you trust to make health-related decisions if you are not able to make them yourself.

Both documents can help your family through a time of difficult emotional stress. Neither is expensive or difficult to have at hand in an emergency.

Now you can file your Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care at the Cuyahoga County Recorded Documents Office, thanks to County Recorded Documents services After documents are registered as files with the Recorded Documents Office, they are easily searchable on-line at Fiscal Offer's Recorded Documents Services by doctors and hospitals. You pay only a small fee of $40.00 for a service that will give you peace of mind.


Why Record Your Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health care?

You might already have a Living Will and Durable power of Attorney for Health Care. Do your loved ones and the doctor know where to find them? By recording your Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, you guarantee the documents are available when needed if you are unable to tell your family where to look.


Is an Attorney Needed to Create or File a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?

You do not need an attorney to fill out or file these documents. The form and process are very easy for everyone to understand. You may, however, choose to consult your lawyer, member of clergy, or physician.


What is a Living Will?

A Living Will is a binding legal document that states clearly your wishes to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. It stands in your place and:
  • it becomes effective only when you are unable to communicate due to permanent unconscious or terminal illness;
  • it communicates your desire for life-support technology;
  • it provides authority for doctors to follow your instructions regarding medical treatment;
  • it cannot be revoked or changed at any time by anyone but you;
  • it specifies the conditions under which you want internal feeding and fluids withheld;
  • it will be followed for a pregnant woman only if certain conditions apply.


What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care names a trusted individual to make a wide variety of health care decisions for you anytime you are unable to do so, regardless if your condition is terminal. The document is another person talking for you and:

  • it becomes effective only when you are temporarily or permanently unable to make your own health treatment decisions;
  • it requires that any decision made for you by the person you appoint is consistent with your wishes;
  • it will not overrule a Living Will if you have both documents.


What Medical Terms Will I Need to Know?

These terms may help you when preparing your Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Life-sustaining: Any medical procedure, treatment, intervention, or other measure administered principally to prolong the process of dying.

Hydration: Fluids that are artificially administered through tubes.

Nutrition: Food that is artificially administered through tubes.

Permanently Unconscious: To a reasonable degree of medical certainty, a patient is irreversibly unaware of himself/herself or his/her environment; a total loss of cerebral cortical functioning which results in loss of capacity to experience pain or suffering.

Terminal Condition: The irreversible, incurable, untreatable condition caused by disease, illness or injury from which, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, there can be no recovery; and death is likely to occur within a short period of time if life-sustaining treatment is not administered.

Comfort Care: Nutrition and/or hydration or other medical care administered to diminish pain or discomfort, but not to postpone death.