Putting your house in or­der

C.A.R.E. - - Cancer -

When youmove to a new­town or even a ne­w­house, you want to get set­tled and or­ga­nized right away so you can ex­plore the neigh­bor­hood with less stress.

A can­cer di­ag­no­sis is very sim­i­lar to a ma­jor move, and the sooner you can­make ba­sic legal plans and put them into place, the more com­fort­able you’ll be. You’ll have done ev­ery­thing in your power to look to­ward the fu­ture so you can live each day to the fullest right now. Putting your “house” in or­der as such is crit­i­cal.

The top three legal doc­u­ments you need to cre­ate or up­date all have to do with mak­ing sure your wishes about med­i­cal care are made known and car­ried out. Th­ese doc­u­ments will make it much eas­ier for your loved ones and med­i­cal team to do what you want with­out strug­gling on their own to make a choice.

If you don’t have th­ese doc­u­ments in place, and haven’t told your doc­tor who you want to act as your “agent” or voice in med­i­cal de­ci­sions, the doc­tor is legally bound to go to th­ese in­di­vid­u­als for de­ci­sions:

1) your spouse, 2) your do­mes­tic part­ner, 3) your adult sons and daugh­ters, 4) adult broth­ers and sis­ters, 5) grand­par­ents and 6) an adult friend who is familiar with your wishes.

Power of At­tor­ney

This is a legal doc­u­ment that al­lows you to choose a per­son whow­ill have the power to act in your place, with your voice. The per­son you name will be legally per­mit­ted to take care of im­por­tant mat­ters for you— for ex­am­ple, pay­ing bills, man­ag­ing in­vest­ments and di­rect­ing your med­i­cal care — if you are un­able to do so your­self.

Living Will

This is a legal doc­u­ment that spells out what you want to hap­pen if you are ter­mi­nally ill and can’t speak for your­self. It states whether or not you would ac­cept ar­ti­fi­cial life-pro­long­ing treat­ments. It also names a spe­cific per­son to speak to the med­i­cal tea­mon your be­half tomake sure your wishes are car­ried out. This per­son is of­ten called your “agent.” Re­mem­ber to dis­cuss your wishes with that per­son and make sure he or she is com­fort­able with the job.

Ques­tions to think about:

• How do I feel about long-term life sup­port, if needed?

• How would I feel about re­ceiv­ing a blood trans­fu­sion?

• How would I feel about be­ing ar­ti­fi­cially fed flu­ids and food? • Would I choose to have CPR, depend­ing on its pre­dicted suc­cess?

Stan­dard writ­ten will

This spells out how your be­long­ings will be dis­trib­uted af­ter your death, and names a per­son to be the ex­ecu­tor of the will, to make sure that your wishes are car­ried out.


• You have the right to make your own health care de­ci­sions

• You have the right to all of the in­for­ma­tion you need to make those de­ci­sions

• You can make some de­ci­sions in ad­vance

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