In the event you are seriously injured or incapacitated, you may be unable to make medical decisions about your care. In most states, in the absence of written directions, health care professionals will turn to your blood relatives to make these decisions in the event you are unable to make them for yourself. This is true no matter how long you may have been with your partner and regardless of whether you have a good relationship or even any relationship with your blood relatives.
Living Will/Medical Directive
In every state, you can execute a document describing your wishes concerning life-prolonging medical care. Depending upon the state, the document may be called by any one of several different names, including: living will, medical directive, health care directive, directive to physicians, or declaration regarding health care. This document is your directive to health care professionals about what measures you want them to take when you are no longer capable of communicating your choices regarding life-prolonging and other medical care.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care/Health Care Proxy
A durable power of attorney for health care (which is also sometimes called a "health care proxy") empowers another person to make medical decisions about your care in the event you become unable to make these decisions for yourself.
Even when you have specified your wishes in a living will/medical directive, there may be some decisions for which the health care providers need additional information to decide what action to take. In the absence of such a durable power of attorney for health care, the health care officials will turn to your blood relatives to make these decisions.
In most states you can use a durable power of attorney...