Who will make your life-or-death decision? – CNN.com

This CNN article tries to explain the difference between a living Will and a Health Care Proxy (or Power of Attorney for Health Care.) The most telling point is that estimates are that only about 30% of American’s have any sort of advanced directive or proxy. This is one of the most vital planning tools you can have. You must have one in place, and you must update it if your circumstances change. The article is about Gary Coleman and his ex-wife was named as his agent. She decided to withhold treatment (“pull the plug”) when he had only been in a coma for one day. She had that authority and the doctors followed her orders. You need to understand what your documents say and what (if anything) state law says about divorcing. Some state laws negate any references to an ex-spouse, while some do not.

See your Estate Planning/Elder Law Attorney right away if you do not have a Health Care Proxy.