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Before heading into major surgery, it’s a good idea to make sure that your wishes regarding certain medical care will be honored. A living will, or an advanced care directive, is a legal document that sets forth whether you want to be given certain life-saving procedures or other types of medical care in the event you become unconscious, [become comatose], or have some other condition rendering you unable to communicate those decisions on your own. You can also designate a health-care proxy or put a health-care power of attorney into place naming someone to make these decisions for you should you be unable to do so. Your health-care power of attorney can also specify that the person is authorized to make decisions about your care, subject to any specific instructions in your living will. If these documents are not in place, then your family could be forced to make life or death decisions that may not only be inconsistent with your wishes but cause your family a variety of emotional and financial strains. For more information about how to protect your wishes regarding medical care, contact an attorney to discuss what legal mechanisms are available.