You address events that will take place after you pass away when you plan your estate. This is rather self-evident, but a holistic estate plan will take things a step further. Preparing for the things that may occur before you pass away is also part of the equation.
If you think about it objectively, people do not typically pass away after having been in good health for the period of time leading up to their passing. Clearly, this is not a very pleasant thing to consider, but it is a fact of life nonetheless.
Incapacity prior to death is not uncommon, and a well constructed estate plan will address this possibility through the creation of legal documents called advance directives for health care.
A living will is one advance directive that everyone should have in place. This type of will is used to record preferences with regard to life-sustaining measures. Things like feeding tubes and mechanical respiration can be used to keep people alive indefinitely under some circumstances, even if they will never recover. In your living will you leave behind instructions that doctors would follow regarding the utilization of these measures.
When you have a living will in place, you can be certain that your own wishes would be carried out under these circumstances. Plus, you take a difficult decision out of the hands of your closest relative, and you prevent possible disagreements among family members.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
The other advance directive that is widely used is the durable power of attorney for health care or health care proxy. The matter of life support is just one health care decision that could present itself. With a durable power of attorney for health care, you name an agent or attorney-in-fact. This person would be able to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
The living will would hold sway with regard to the specific matter of life support, but the health care agent would be able to make other types of decisions on your behalf.
If you discuss things with the person that you want to choose as the agent in advance, you can go forward with the knowledge that the representative will be familiar with your thinking. Any decisions that would be made would probably be consistent with your own wishes.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Everyone should have advance directives for health care in place. If you are currently unprepared for incapacity, action is required.
Our firm offers free consultations, and we would be glad to help you create these important documents. To set up an appointment, send us a message through our contact page: Hartford CT Incapacity Planning Attorneys.
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