There are many things that people must do to prepare themselves and their loved ones for the inevitability of death. Our country was recently exposed to the tribulations involving the family of Terry Schiavo in Florida. There was tremendous intra-familial, political, religious, and legal acrimony (bitterness/conflict) because Ms. Schiavo did not have legally binding documents which would have granted authority over her health care decisions and given advanced health care directives so that her loved ones would be empowered with her written wishes.
The following links are intended to provide Connecticut residents with the documents necessary to designate a Health Care Agent to make decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated. The Appointment of Health Care Agent document should be dated and signed in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom can be a notary public or a Commissioner of the Superior Court (all lawyers are Commissioners of the Superior Court). The Living Will needs to be executed in the presence of two witnesses who should date the document.
Both original documents should be kept in a safe place (not your personal safe deposit box) and copies provided to family members and your personal physician. In the event of a life-threatening illness or injury, copies of the documents should be given to the patient’s health care providers and copies should be placed in the patient’s hospital chart.
If you reside in a state other than Connecticut, you should consult with a lawyer in your state about the documentation required. Also, the documents involving health care directives can be modified to suit individual needs and purposes. You can consult with your own lawyer or physicians who may provide additional guidance.