5 End-of-Life Legal Terms You Need to Know

January 31st, 2019

When a beloved friend or family member is reaching the end of his or her life, he or she will probably require the assistance of trusted loved ones to finalize their affairs and estate. End-of-life planning can include helping a loved one draft a will, deciding where and how his or her assets will be divided after death, and planning for a funeral and cremation in Philadelphia after he or she has passed on. You may encounter a number of confusing legal terms that can bog down your understanding of your loved one’s estate planning, especially if you are the primary contact who is planning and managing your loved one’s end-of-life care. Read on to learn five common end-of-life legal terms that you’ll need to know.

  • Power of attorney. The power of attorney is a legal document that allows one person to legally act on behalf of another when it comes to financial matters and estate planning. Only someone who is legally competent and of sound mind may sign a power of attorney.
  • Living will. A living will is an advance directive that someone receiving end-of-life care may sign to indicate his or her wishes in regards to medical care should he or she lose his or her ability to communicate. A living will may also be referred to as a “medical directive” or a “directive to physicians.”
  • Medical power of attorney. Similar to a standard Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney is a document that grants a trusted friend or loved one the power to make medical decisions in the event that the person in question is unable to communicate.
  • Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. A DNR order is an order written and signed by a physician that indicates that a person does not wish to undergo CPR in the event that their heart or breathing stops. A DNR order may be requested by a person who is of sound mind and legal decision-making skills or by a family member or friend who has received medical power of attorney.
  • Withdrawing treatment. “Withdrawing treatment” is a term used when life-saving or sustaining treatments are being discontinued, usually because the patient is in an unbearable amount of pain or the treatments are no longer helping.

McCafferty Funeral Home is a funeral provider and crematorium in Philadelphia that can help you understand end-of-life treatment and care. Call us at 215-531-5014 for immediate attention and assistance.


For more information about planning a burial or to schedule a consultation, please call 215-531-5014.

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