The Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney

| December 11, 2015
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Putting together a proper estate plan can be challenging. There are many different estate planning documents that we can use. Today we’ll look at two estate planning documents that can be part of your estate plan: the Living Will and the Medical Power of Attorney. You may have heard of these documents and are curious what their purpose is.

A living will (also known as an advanced medical directive), is where you state your intentions in regard to your medical decisions. Generally, the living will specifies your wishes when it comes to medical technology intended to prolong your life if you become terminally ill or in a permanent state of unconsciousness. State law determines the types of technology or treatment that can be legally withheld. In many cases, a person may indicate they want no extraordinary measures to be taken to prolong their life, but allow the use of prescription drugs to relieve pain or discomfort.

It’s common to designate an agent (sometimes called an attorney-in-fact) to make these kind of medical decisions when the client is unable to.

The medical power of attorney can be used along with a living will or as the sole medical document. When used alongside a living will, the medical power-of-attorney gives the agent the ability to make decisions when the living will is ignored or deemed ambiguous.

Obviously the agent should be selected carefully. Usually a husband and wife will just name each other as agents. A lot of times people are reluctant to name children as successors. This is because it can be difficult or uncomfortable to pick a child to make such emotional decisions. These kinds of decisions should be discussed with your children beforehand and involve them in the planning process. Managing your healthcare decisions is an important part of the estate planning process. If you would like more information on this or our other topics just call us at 815-455-6453. See you next time!

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

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