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    Getting Your Affairs in Order

    Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

    Designating someone to have your power of attorney for health care does not mean you give up any power to make your own decisions. But there may come a point when you cannot speak for yourself. At that point, you will need someone to make decisions such as whether or not you would want to be kept alive on a ventilator.

    This person should have a copy of your advance directives, and should know your specific wishes regarding the kinds of lifesaving measures you do and do not want.

    Forms for assigning durable power of attorney for health care are available online.

    Instructions for Your Funeral or Memorial Service

    When someone has just died, grieving family members must often think fairly quickly about plans for funerals or memorial services. In the immediate aftermath of death, it can be hard to focus on details such as what your favorite song was or what kind of burial you would prefer.

    Sit down with someone you trust -- a social worker with your palliative care team can often help you brainstorm about important details -- and write down all the things that are important to you about your funeral, memorial service, and how your body is dealt with.

    Some questions to think about:

    • Do you want a funeral or memorial service? In a church, synagogue, mosque, or somewhere else? Who should preside?
    • What would you like to have read, sung, or said at your service? Is there someone you would particularly like to have speak?
    • Would you like your body to be viewed after your death? By close family only?
    • Would you like to record an audio or video message for a service after your death?
    • How would you like your body to be dealt with? Do you prefer burial or cremation? How do you feel about organ donation or donating your body to medical research?

    Palliative Care Team Can Help

    For all of these and other end-of-life planning issues, your palliative care team can help you find a financial planner, attorney, or other professional who can make sure that your wishes are carried out and respected.

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