Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Advance Directives

Yesterday's New York Times ran a chilling article, Kept From Dying Partner's Bedside, which is about a same-sex couple that was kept apart while one was dying in the hospital even though the couple had created powers of attorney. The article mentions that when the healthy partner was told she'd need a health care proxy, she had to contact someone and have it faxed to the hospital where the couple and their children were vacationing. Often I have seminar participants ask if a power of attorney for health care is valid if the person is traveling in another state. The answer is yes, if it is valid in the state you live, the other state should recognize the document.

This story is quite troubling, and will be one that I follow. Reading it, the one thought I have is that if you are in a relationship that is not traditionally recognized (same-sex couple or partnered but not married), you might want to have the documents in hand when you travel. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference in this case, but time can be of the essence.

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