A lot of people think of estate planning as a process that is exclusively focused on financial matters. Without question, it is important to state your final wishes regarding the way you want your remaining resources to be distributed among your loved ones.
At the same time, a well-constructed estate plan will address circumstances that you may encounter toward the end of your life. With this in mind, we will look at advance directives for health care in this post.
Life Support Choices
There are emergency medical treatments that can keep someone alive in the moment, and they can sometimes prolong life for extended periods of time. When recovery is quite possible or probable, there is no question that these measures should be used.
On the other hand, when there is no hope of recovery, the utilization of life-sustaining measures will become questionable. You can answer this question for yourself in advance if you execute a document called a living will.
In your living will, you can express your feelings about the use of all different types of life-sustaining treatments. These would include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the utilization of a ventilating machine to help you breathe, artificial nutrition, and artificial hydration.
You can also state your preferences with regard to comfort care or palliative care techniques to ease pain, nausea, and other types of discomfort. A living will can also stipulate whether or not you are willing to donate organs. In fact, you can actually stipulate which organs you will or will not donate.
If you do nothing to prepare for these eventualities in advance, your closest relative or relatives would be called upon to make decisions on your behalf. This is an extremely difficult position to be placed in, and there can be disagreements among family members. You can take the matter into your own hands if you execute a living will.
Health Care Proxy
Another advance directive that should be part of your comprehensive estate plan is a health care proxy. With this document, you name someone to act as an agent that would be empowered to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. These would be decisions about matters that are not explicitly addressed in your living will.
HIPAA Release Form
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996. It is in place to protect the privacy of patients. This piece of legislation prevents doctors from releasing medical information to anyone other than the patient without express written permission.
Download Our Free Estate Planning Worksheet
Our attorneys have devised a very useful worksheet that you can utilize to gain a more complete understanding of the estate planning process. People that have gone through it give us very positive feedback, so you would do well to get your copy, and it is being offered free of charge.
To obtain access, visit our estate planning worksheet page and follow the simple instructions.
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We shared some very important information that everyone should absorb in this blog post, and we invite you to visit often, because we are always adding fresh content. In addition to the blog, there are many other written resources that you can access right here on our website for free.
After you have learned enough, you will invariably come to the conclusion that it is time to discuss your estate planning goals with a licensed attorney. Professional assistance invaluable, because every situation is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
We would be glad to gain an understanding of your objectives and help you devise a custom crafted plan that is ideal for you and your family. You can request a consultation appointment right now if you give us a call at (585) 546-1734.
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