At its heart, estate planning is all about planning for the future. None of us know what tomorrow will bring, and estate planning provides a way to prepare for illness, calamity, and death. Often, this means ensuring that your kids are properly looked after, or that your assets are evenly distributed among heirs. However, it can also entail planning for any illness or injury that could befall you.
One estate planning document that can help you in this regard is an advance health care directive. In this post, we’ll explain what the document is, and why you need it in your estate plan.
Advance health care directives are also known as living wills. These documents allow you a chance to write out your wishes and clarify your expectations, should you ever be put into a position where you can no longer speak for yourself.
Imagine this scenario. Illness or injury puts you into a coma, and all of a sudden you lose the ability to communicate with your loved ones. There may arise some questions about what life-saving interventions you want, such as breathing machines and feeding tubes. Or, there could be questions about how long you wish to be connected to these devices.
An advance health care directive allows you to clearly outline what you wish to happen, ensuring that your wishes are upheld even if you can’t articulate them yourself.
One common question: Is there a difference between an advance health care directive and power of attorney?
There is, though the two can often work well in tandem. A directive allows you to outline your wishes, while a power of attorney lets you appoint someone to serve as your representative, making legally binding decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make them for yourself.
You can appoint a power of attorney to make your business decisions for you, or to make medical decisions for you. Often, it’s wise to have both. And of course, your advance health care directive can provide your legal representative with clarity about the kinds of decisions they should make.
Hopefully, you can guess as to why advance health care directives are so important. While most of us have no intention of dying or being put into a coma tomorrow, you just never know what will happen from one day to the next. A car accident could blindside you and leave you incapacitated, or you could be diagnosed with a grave illness.
The point in saying this is not to be morbid, but rather to point out the importance of preparing for all contingencies. Meeting with an advance directive attorney is one practical way to make that happen.
Do you have additional questions about the role of a health directive? Or queries about the distinction between health directives and powers of attorney?
Reach out to Singh Law Firm and let’s talk. Our attorneys are here to walk you through all the important estate planning considerations, including those related to your health and wellbeing.
Remember, estate planning is all about preparing for the future… and none of us know exactly what that will entail. Make sure you’re ready for anything. Reach out to Singh Law Firm and ask to speak with an estate planning lawyer at your next convenience.