Ultimately, estate planning is about preparing for the future. Part of that means ensuring that you leave a legacy for the people you love. Part of it means being certain that your children are taken care of, no matter what. And part of it means your own wishes are upheld, even if you end up in a coma or otherwise medically incapacitated.
This is where documents such as an advance health care directive come in handy… but when do you actually need this document? In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know.
Defining Advance Health Care Directives
To begin with, what is an advance health care directive?
Essentially, this is a legal document that outlines the decisions you wish to be made about your medical treatment and care, in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
For example, if you fall into a coma, for how long do you wish to be kept on life support? If you suffer from brain damage, do you want the doctors to use all the tools available to keep you alive, or would you rather them let you go? These are uncomfortable decisions to make, but with an advance health care directive, you can clarify your wishes ahead of time.
The Benefits of an Advance Health Care Directive
Ultimately, the primary reason to meet with an advance directive attorney is that it can provide peace of mind… to you, but also to the people you love.
It gives you peace of mind because you’ll know that you won’t be kept alive on a breathing machine any longer than you wish to be; or, conversely, that your provider won’t withdraw treatment before you’re ready.
But it also gives peace of mind to your loved ones, who won’t have to guess or speculate about your true wishes. If you’ve met with an advance health care directive lawyer, then your loved ones will have a clear idea of how to honor your intentions
Advance Directive or Directive Power of Attorney?
A common question we hear from our clients: What’s the difference between an advance directive and directive power of attorney?
Basically, a durable power of attorney allows you to authorize someone to make decisions for you, should you be unable to make those decisions yourself. These may be medical decisions, or they may be decisions about your business, your personal finances, or your legal affairs.
This is different from an advance health care directive, which doesn’t bestow legal authority on anyone but does help clarify your own wishes and intentions.
There is no reason why you can’t have both of these documents included within your estate planning strategy.
Hiring an Advance Directive Attorney
A final question: Should you hire an advance health care directive lawyer to help you put this document in place?
While it isn’t strictly necessary, it’s something we would generally recommend. Estate planning can be complicated, and this is one area where you obviously don’t want to make any mistakes. A power of attorney lawyer can counsel you on the options available to you, and ensure you have an estate plan that will provide maximum peace of mind to everyone.
Contact Singh Law Firm to Learn More
Do you have any additional questions about establishing an advance health care directive or power of attorney? Either way, we’d love to help. To speak with an experienced California estate planning lawyer, all you have to do is call the offices at Singh Law Firm. Contact us at your next opportunity.