With all of the talk about the Terry Schiavo case in the news, I was thinking about Living Wills and who I would trust to carry out my wishes if I were incapacitated.
I’m unmarried, no SO, no kids and I live alone. Both of my parents are alive, as are my brother and sister. I’m estranged from my father, who is still married to my mother. I live in PA.
My question is this: if I were to fill out a Living Will and give it to all of the approrpriate people, who would be considered my next of kin for medical decision purposes? My parents? If the task falls to my parents by default, and my parents disagree on whether to keep me on life support, who gets to decide?
I know that there is a separate designation aside from the Living Will where I can assign a specific surrogate to make medical decisions for me. If I were to assign my mother as my surrogate, would she alone be making decisions for me, or could my father interfere? If I specifically assign my brother to act on my behalf instead, can either of my parents interfere if they disagree with how he’s handling my affairs?
I’ve also heard that these assignations aren’t ironclad in any case, and in spite of me making all of my wishes known, the person I assign responsibility to can still toss my wishes in the trash and do what they want. How true is that statement?