February 18, 2001
You Have Powers. Use Them.
You do, you know. You have powers you may not realize you have. This applies to all who are in the United States and are at least age 18. You have powers and you need to hear how to use them, if you have a specific person you want making decisions for you if you can't make them for yourself.
This is how to use the powers. Go see an attorney. All fifty states and the District of Columbia have some form of healthcare directives, in which you may clearly state your preference as to which person makes decisions on your behalf. An attorney can explain the legal aspects and prepare the documents for you.
While you're speaking with the attorney, ask about powers of attorney for things other than healthcare issues, too. And about making a Last Will and Testament.
Advanced directives and such are not just for people who are wealthy or elderly. That's a myth.
This link and this one will take you to sites where you can find more information. This is not to be taken as me or anyone else giving you legal advice; I am pointing out that legal remedies to feeling powerless are out there and you can get an attorney to help you find them.
I am using my powers. I decided long ago that I trusted a close friend, literally, with my life. Notice I said friend, not relative. That's because I'm in a weird age warp on both sides of my family---the cousins I know best are likely to be unable to take over if anything happens to me, and the younger ones I don't know well enough to trust, quite frankly. So I picked a friend. One who I trust with my possessions and to know my wishes.
And if for some reason I need to change that decision (say my friend moves to Timbuktu and gets an unlisted phone number that I can't find to share with my doctor, or I find Prince Charming and want to put his name on the things), change could easily be done.
These documents may not solve every situation that arises, but they are powerful steps to take. And you can have the satisfaction, whatever your situation, of taking steps to make your wishes clearly known.
And if you're an attorney, put the word out that you can prepare such documents. I hate tacky legal ads, but a classified in the local newspaper could get you some clients.
You have powers. Use them. Now.