Why is it that when you enter a hospital they always ask if you have a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care? Those documents, referred to Advance Health Care Directives, give to the health care providers and your loved ones your wishes regarding the termination of life support under the proper circumstances. Those circumstances vary from state to state. Under Ohio law, they may be executed if two physicians have indicated in writing that you are either (1) terminally ill (going to pass away soon) or (2) permanently unconscious (as in a coma).
The Living Will is self-executing: if you sign it and the circumstances described above exist, your wishes will be carried out, without anyone else required to act (although the persons you designate will be notified by the providers). The Power of Attorney for Health Care requires the decisions of both the two physicians plus the individual you select before your wishes may be carried out. In the event that you have signed both of those documents, the Living Will trumps.
Which of those alternatives is right for you? This should be carefully discussed with your
estate planning attorney. However, failure to have either or both of those documents could result in you being kept alive when there is no hope of recovery.