Living Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney are essential documents to have in your estate plan. Both documents determine who makes decisions about your care if you become incapacitated or too ill to speak. Having these documents ready provides you peace of mind, and ensures you are prepared for any of life's surprises.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a document that outlines what life-saving and life-prolonging treatments you agree (or disagree) to have, in the case you become incapacitated beyond the ability to make decisions.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you (or, the principal) to appoint an agent (a family member or close friend) to make decisions in your behalf, should you become incapacitated or too ill to speak. This document is considered more flexible because your health care agent works together with the health care providers to make decisions about your care.
If neither of these documents are prepared, loved ones cannot make financial decisions or care decisions for you. These decisions may include life support, Medicare coordination, and paying bills. In order to make any decisions on your behalf, family members (or significant others) will need to be appointed a guardian by the court. This process can be costly, and can be avoided with proper documentation.
Both living wills and durable powers of attorney should be prepared long before an individual becomes incompetent or incapacitated. If these documents are formed, they can be amended as many times as necessary, so long as the principal is considered competent.
At Sumsion Business Law, we can help you determine what kind of documents you should prepare. We will meet together with you and your health care agent to ask the right questions and document your wishes correctly. To contact us with further questions, or if you would like to set up an appointment, please use our contact form on the "Contact Us" page. We look forward to speaking with you.