When you reach your senior years, there are a lot of decisions that have to be made to prepare for the possibility that you may one day not be able to care for yourself. If you reach the point where you can’t make informed decisions or handle your day-to-day affairs, you want to be sure your interests are met, and your desires considered.
To this end, you have to consider some important care decisions that go beyond simply leaving written instructions. Making a mistake in the way you structure these decisions can be very costly. Learn how a lawyer for estate planning can help you make important end-of-life care decisions, protect your assets, and ensure your wishes are considered.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is an essential part of making sure that you’re cared for and your medical needs are attended to as you enter your senior years. Should you become incapacitated, having a list of the things you need done isn’t enough. You need someone you trust who can make decisions about those unexpected things that come along.
Also called a healthcare proxy, this person only takes over decision making if you can’t. That’s important to remember. Choose someone you trust to act as your agent in these cases—often a family member such as one of your children.
Advance Medical Directives
In addition, you want to have a set of medical directives drawn up. This is your list of those things for which you can prepare, and what you want done should these cases arise. They exist to provide your agent with specific instructions on how to care for you. They can be a refusal of life support, or a wish to maintain life support. They can provide broad levels of instruction or very specific ones.
In any case, the healthcare field has very strict privacy regulations, which means that it’s more vital than ever to have these guidelines in place, as they also allow access to your healthcare records and information to your appointed agent. In such situations, a general financial power of attorney won’t work.
A living will is a document that provides specific directives regarding what to do if you suffer a terminal illness or enter a vegetative state, and can’t communicate your desires. Specifically, it determines the point at which life support should be terminated.
Calling a Lawyer for Estate Planning
In addition to powers of attorney, healthcare directives, appointing an agent, and having a living will, there are a range of other steps you can (and should) take to be sure everything is covered as you near the end of your life, and even beyond. Avoiding critical errors and overcoming the roadblocks that always seem in the way requires knowledgeable help from an experienced lawyer for estate planning.
The right estate planning attorney knows how to properly structure your directives and documents to protect your assets, see to your needs and wishes, and ensure that you are properly cared for. If you’re in Cuyahoga county and you need the best local lawyer for estate planning purposes, call Stano Law for a consultation today.