No family, in Texas or in any other state, wants to make the difficult decision of whether to take their child off of life support in order to end a terminally ill child’s suffering. But in situations where the child is of legal age, it is even more difficult when the child makes the decision that they want to be taken off of life support despite the parent’s opposition.

But this is exactly what happened to a family in Queens when their daughter requested the removal of life support. Her parents cringed at the thought and her father even petitioned in court to have himself appointed as her legal guardian. She later changed her mind, but it is cases like this that gets people thinking: what options do I have in similar circumstances?

Many estate planning attorneys will tell you that, even if you’re not sick now, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place just in case the worst should happen. Many lawyers will suggest appointing someone as your power of attorney. The designation of this person allows them to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Sometimes, lawyers may also suggest a living will which describes your wishes when it comes to medical decisions in the event you are unable to state them otherwise.

Parents may also designate guardianship to someone else in the event that the parents of a disabled, ill or incapacitated child both die. Whether choosing guardianship or power of attorney, many experts will say that establishing powers of attorney can help family members in the future make difficult decisions they might not want to make on their own.

Source: NY Daily News, “Brain-cancer patient’s father drops court bid to be named guardian,” Erica Pearson, Oct. 9, 2012