Contrary to some of the more popular myths and misconceptions, estate planning isn’t just a matter of allocating assets. Yes, it’s important to have a will in place to denote who gets what, and to take proper precautions to shield your estate from taxation and from probate. But your estate planning efforts shouldn’t just be about your heirs; they should also address your own end-of-life needs and objectives. That’s something you can accomplish by putting an advance health care directive in place.
But what is an advance health care directive (or directive power of attorney), anyway? And how do you know when you need to speak with a health care attorney? We’ll touch on each of these points in the following post.
An advance health care directive (or living will, or directive power of attorney, or whatever else you want to call it) is a legal document that allows you to express your end-of-life wishes. Specifically, it allows you to clarify your wishes with regard to life support machinery, respirators, feeding tubes, and the like. Do you wish for these medical interventions to be used to save or prolong your life? At which point would you like to be removed from these devices?
Should you ever fall into a coma or a vegetative state or sustain some sort of injury that leaves you unable to communicate, doctors won’t know exactly what kind of care you want to receive. An advance health care directive allows you to make those wishes known, in a way that is clear and legally binding.
This obviously makes the doctors’ work easier. It provides your family members with peace of mind, too, allowing them to rest assured that they know what you really want. And, of course, it gives you a way to articulate your desires, even in a situation where you are otherwise left voiceless.
None of us know what the future holds, or what kind of accidents, illness, and injuries are in store for us. For this reason, it’s really beneficial for everyone to have an advance directive in place.
And, it’s advantageous to have this legal document completed with the guidance of an attorney. There are a number of reasons for this. One is simply that such documents can be complicated, and this is not an area where you want to make any mistakes. An advance directive attorney can see to it that your documentation is all airtight.
Additionally, a health care attorney can walk you through some of the different kinds of documents that are available. For example, some individuals wish to have a health care power of attorney in place. This appoints a legal representative to speak for them, and to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are rendered unable to make their own.
Another option is the financial power of attorney. This allows you to appoint a representative to make financial, legal, and business decisions on your behalf, if your health condition prohibits you from speaking up on your own. These decisions might include closing on a real estate deal, selling a company, or simply filing taxes.
The important thing to note is that there are a number of ways to plan for the future, and it’s important to be mindful of the different options and ultimately to select the right strategy for seeing your preferences upheld… something that can provide serenity to yourself and to your family.
As you consider the possibilities, we’d invite you to speak with a trusted, experienced, and knowledgeable estate planning attorney. Singh Law Firm is highly familiar with all of California’s estate planning rules, as well as the most advanced and effective strategies. We’d love to speak with you further about the ins and outs of an advance health care directive.
To schedule an appointment with our legal team, reach out to Singh Law Firm at your next convenience.