End of life planning is an important piece to the puzzle if you want to be comprehensively prepared from an estate planning perspective. There are documents that you can create to let your wishes be known about health care decisions that could present themselves.
Many people become unable to communicate late in their lives. To account for this, your estate plan should include an incapacity planning component. This will involve the execution of legally binding documents called advance directives for health care.
One advance directive for health care that everyone should have is a living will. Doctors can sometimes keep people alive for indefinite periods of time through the utilization of artificial measures like feeding tubes, artificial hydration, and mechanical respiration. With a living will, you state your preferences regarding the utilization of measures such as these.
If you do not have a living will in place, and this type of situation was to befall you, your closest relative would be asked to make the decision on your behalf. This is a very difficult position to be placed in, and everyone in your family may not be in agreement with regard to the appropriate course of action.
The case of Terri Schiavo that played itself out in the public eye a number of years ago is often used to demonstrate the importance of a living will. Her husband and her parents fought a bitter court battle after they could not agree about the ongoing utilization of life-sustaining measures. You could prevent this type of outcome if you create a living will.
There are other types of medical situations that can arise that are not specifically addressed in the living will. To account for this possibility, your incapacity plan can include another advance directive for health care called a durable power of attorney or health care proxy.
When you create a durable power of attorney, you name an agent who would be empowered to make medical decisions on your behalf if you were to become incapacitated at some point in time. We should point out the fact that the durable designation is important, because a power of attorney that is not durable would no longer be in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor.
Download Our Special Report
If you would like to obtain more in-depth information about advance directives for health care and incapacity planning in general, we have a valuable resource that you can access quickly and easily through this website. Our firm has prepared an in-depth special report on the subject, and it is being offered free of charge at the present time.
To get your copy of the report, click this link and follow the simple instructions: End of Life Planning Report.