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Carrying out Wishes and Handling Affairs After a Cancer Diagnosis

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There are a couple of items on my “to do” list that I have been meaning to get to that are extremely important. One of them being filling out my Power of Attorney paperwork, Advance directive, etc.

Some of this information is a little confusing and it seems that I may need to have several people allocated to do specific things such as finance, health decisions, carrying out wishes after death, etc. I’m not sure that everything should be listed under one specific person.

I have a little bit of literature I still need to go through, but other than that I am a little confused. Does anyone know of any good resources or contacts that could help in this area?


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Melissa, here's a really thorough page by the Mayo Clinic's Consumer Health page about Living Wills and Advance directives, including comparisons of the differences between the two (as well as medical power of attorney). It talks about how to choose a decision-maker and on where people can find forms for their own state:


In Arizona, here is the Advance Directive Registry web page. It has a section where you can click on Facts, Questions, Talk, Web Site and Forms that might be of help to you (I found a lot of information under Questions):


Here's a page that discusses powers of attorney in general; there is a small section on whether to appoint more than one in different areas:


And here's a page from AZLawHelp.org that includes wills, living wills and links to advanced directives and the state's Life Care Planning Packet:


I think that the decision as to whether to name different people to be in charge of different things primarily rests with you and the people involved, in terms of what you are comfortable with and what their relationships are to you (and what their expertises are, in some cases). For instance, my mother's will specifies that my sister, who is a nurse, would have her medical power of attorney, and that I would deal with her financial affairs. In reality, my sister and I would consult with one another on everything, but in the case of a disagreement, the wishes are clear. My mom wanted to avoid putting all the responsibility on any one of her children. In the case of a married person, they may choose their spouse to be their representative in all matters, both medically and financially. Same with a child or a single adult whose sole representatives might be their parents.

Has this been of help? May I research something more specifically for you?

March 20, 2009 - 9:37am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)


Thank you so much for the helpful information! By the time I saw your reply I had actually already spoken to a lawyer friend who agreed to draw up the paperwork pro bono for me. I went to each of the article links just now to read up on some of the information and found this to be very helpful. I designated my sister to be my healthcare power of attorney and I sent her your response as well so she can review the information,

Thank you again! I have a blog that I have been updating on a regular basis on the diagnosis and progress of everything. www.themelissawaller.com

Thanks again for your help!

March 30, 2009 - 3:32am
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