by Robert W.P. Welch
In this article, Robert W.P. Welch discusses the importance of having Personal Care Power of Attorney, especially in light of the Terri Schiavo.
The sad and controversial events surrounding the final weeks of Terri Schiavo’s life and her recent passing make more evident the need to consider a Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
Prior to the Substitute Decisions Act being implemented about ten years ago, if a person wanted to designate someone else to speak for him or her about personal care matters if he or she could not, there were few options. The so called “Living Will”, while having moral suasion, was not enforceable.
However, since the enactment of this legislation, one can designate, in what is called a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, someone who can make health and personal care decisions if one can’t speak for oneself, and indeed can prescribe what some of these decisions should be.
This goes a long way toward preventing the unfortunate tug of war that was illustrated in the Schiavo case.