No one likes to be powerless, but isn’t it inevitable? Unfortunately, old age, illness, or tragedy will surely reveal itself in each of our futures in some way or another. Instead of waiting helplessly, hoping that you will never live a day in your life incapacitated, you can create a legal document that will ensure that your rights, dignity, and wishes will be protected if you ever become incapable of making or communicating decisions regarding medical care.
An advanced health care directive is a durable power of attorney and performs much like a living will. A power of attorney is a legal document used to appoint another person to make property and/or health care decisions on your behalf. It allows you (the principal) to grant authority to your appointed agent (also called your attorney in fact) to manage your financial matters or health care needs. This durable power of attorney for health care appoints an attorney-in-fact to make health care decisions based upon your specific and spelled-out wishes in the event that you become incapacitated. For example, a health care power of attorney allows you to express your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment should the need for such treatment arise. It is important to provide detailed guidance for your health care agent in the power of attorney. Perhaps you want to donate your body to science or donate your organs to needy patients? If something like this, or any other particular request, speaks to you, it should be in writing.
So, what are you waiting for? Tragic accidents and heart attacks don’t come with warnings. In the end, having a plan in place is a compassionate step—no one should want their family to agonize over whether to let you live in a vegetative state or pull the plug. By carefully outlining your wishes, you can take some of the weight off of your loved ones’ shoulders during such a trying time. Furthermore, you can even save your family money on hospital fees, ensuring that your spouse will not get saddled with astronomical medical bills on top of funeral expenses.
Talking about death is never easy, but if you are ready to discuss pulling together an advanced health care directive, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri for further information. The attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri have years of experience handling complex estate planning matters, including wills and living trusts, and we are happy to offer you a free consultation.
Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.