Who Should Get Copies of Your Living Will/Medical Power-of-Attorney?

Obviously, in order for any of the your advance health care planning to be put into effect, your health care providers need to be aware of the fact that you have a Living Will/Medical Power-of-Attorney. If they don't know about your Living Will/Medical Power-of-Attorney, they can't be expected to follow it. Consequently, you must make every effort to make sure your Living Will/Medical Power-of-Attorney is known to everyone involved (or potentially involved) in your medical treatment. Although many people are justifiably hesitant to discuss their personal medical decisions with others, you must weigh your concerns for privacy against the need for these important documents to be acted on.

Therefore, keep the original of your Living Will/Medical Power-of-Attorney with your other estate planning documents, but then give copies to your Medical Power-of-Attorney Representative and your successor Representative. Also, anytime you're admitted to a hospital, take a copy of your Living Will/Medical Power-of-Attorney with you and ask that it be made a part of your medical chart. Your health care providers are required by law to put a copy of your Living Will/Medical Power-of-Attorney in your medical chart if you give it to them.

Also, consider giving copies of your Living Will/Medical Power-of-Attorney to any of the following people

Any doctor with whom you see on a regular basis
The office of the hospital or other medical facility where you are likely to receive treatment
The patient representative of your health insurance plan or HMO
Your immediate family members, such as your spouse, older children and siblings
Your close friends

Remember, all your advance planning will turn out to be a waste of time if your Living Will/Medical Power-of-Attorney doesn't get to the hands of the people who need to know about it.