My cousin named me as her health care power of attorney a few years ago. In the document, I am authorized to make all decisions regarding her health care and medical treatment. Now, I'm wondering if I need more. What if she becomes unable to eat and they suggest a feeding tube? Can I say, no, that my LO always said she didn't want to prolong her life if she was in that condition?

I've been reading on this site about the situations people are in with this issue and it concerns me. My cousin doesn't have a LIving Will. Is it too late for her to sign one? She hasn't been ruled incompetent, but......I'm not sure if I should approach it or not. She is in AL now and not in any medical crisis.

I know her well enough to be confident that I know her wishes. Will that hold up? There is no other family who is involved or even in contact with her. I reached out to one other cousin who told me to do whatever I thought was best and she was not interested in being involved.

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As Maggie suggests, read the Living Will carefully to determine if it creates the options you think might be necessary. If not, discuss with her what she would want to happen under various situations, and with various options such as life support, heroic measures, etc.

The Living Wills that I've seen are binding though, not advisory. If there's something that needs to be clarified, do it now and document it, especially if there are other family members who might challenge your decisions later.

You should also discuss with your cousin if she wants you to handle her financial and legal affairs. If so, you'll need a Durable Power of Attorney. She should also have a Will, unless she's already conveyed or provided for legal methods of transfer of her assets to you when she dies.

If she dies intestate (w/o a will), her assets will be allocated according to state law. If she has closer relatives than you, they might be the recipients. I know this isn't something on your mind right now, but you're also thinking ahead so all these legal and inheritance issues should be addressed.

Good luck.
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That sounds good. I am comfortable with what she wanst, but I may talk with her and get her input again.

The reason I know is that her aunts and mother went downhill physically and had to go into rest homes. She made the decision for her mother to not prolong her life. Her mom was 87 and had cancer. She was so weak she could not undergo treatments or surgery. We discussed at length how she would not want to be in that situation. So, we have discussed it multiple times since her mom's death.
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Take another look at the document and see if there's anywhere in it that expresses her wishes. It is my UNDERSTANDING that a mere Living Will is advisory. More valuable for family than of any concrete use in a medical crisis.

If you have her healthcare power of attorney, if she is unable to speak for herself, you are, in effect, her. If you are comfortable with the information you already know about your cousin, you probably don't need her to fill out anything else.

If you aren't "quite" comfortable, bring two of them to the AL facility and suggest you fill them out together. I'd think she'd be nothing but grateful that you take your responsibility so seriously.
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