Advance directives for health care should be a part of every comprehensive estate plan, and one of these directives is a living will.
First, let’s look at the purpose of incapacity planning. When it comes to estate planning the need to plan ahead from a financial standpoint is well understood for the most part. But at the same time, you should consider the contingencies that may confront you during the latter stages of your life.
You may not be able to make all of your own decisions during your twilight years. Before people pass away they often become unable to communicate. Granted, this is not the most pleasant thing in the world to contemplate. However, it is an undeniable fact of life, and the wise course of action is to prepare for this possibility.
When you make these preparations you are making sure that your own wishes are carried out. But at the same time, you are also making things easier for your loved ones should very challenging circumstances present themselves.
One of these challenging circumstances would be a scenario whereby you were being kept alive via the utilization of life support measures. You can state your wishes regarding your preferences should this type of situation arise by executing a living will.
If you don’t have a living will your family members will be forced to make an excruciating decision. We are talking about the life-and-death of a spouse or a parent. It is not really fair to place this decision in the hands of someone else. Plus, everyone may not be on the same page. There can be arguments among family members at a very inopportune time in their lives.
You can make sure that there are no disagreements by taking the time to execute a living will.
A living will is a must, but you should also include another incapacity planning document called a durable power of attorney for health care. Every possible medical scenario may not be addressed in a living will. Circumstances can arise that require decision-making on the fly.
If you name an agent or proxy in your durable power of attorney for health care this individual will be empowered to make these decisions in your behalf. There will be no taffy pull among loved ones regarding who should be in charge. Your own hand picked decision-maker will be in place, and everyone in the family will know that this is the person that you selected.
There is a lot to take into consideration if you want to be comprehensively prepared for the eventualities of aging and your ultimate passing. It would be easy for the typical layperson to overlook some of the details. For this reason the wise course of action is to plan ahead with the assistance of a licensed Quad Cities estate planning lawyer.