Estate Planning: Advance Directives
No one ever plans to be sick or disabled. Yet, it’s this kind of planning that can make all the difference in an emergency. This type of planning shouldn’t be limited to who will inherit particular items or assets—you should also consider critical decisions that your family may face if you become too sick or disabled to make those decisions yourself.
Your estate plan should include an advance directive, or written instructions that let people know what kind of care you want if seriously ill or dying and cannot express your wishes yourself. These are official documents that state your wishes with respect to end-of-life care.
These documents will include an appointment of a Health Care Representative, or someone who can make decisions for you when you are no longer able. At Reynolds, we ask you to provide a primary and two alternate people as your Health Care Representative choices.
Our firm then provides instructions to your Health Care Representative regarding your end-of-life preferences. You will be asked, for example, how long you want to use life support in the event of accident or serious illness. Other common components of an advance directive include:
· Advance Directive for Health Care: this records your end-of-life care wishes and spells out what life sustaining treatment you do or do not want if you are in the last state of a terminal illness or permanently unconscious
· Do not resuscitate order (DNR): this tells health care providers you do not want CPR or other life support procedures if your heart stops or you stop breathing – this is signed by a health care provider and put in your medical chart.
· Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST): this is created specifically for patients with severe illness, gives standing, actionable medical orders concerning end of life care. Patients can create a POLST by assessing treatment options with a health care professional who then signs the form.
We realize these are sensitive issues and they are difficult to contemplate let alone discuss. However, the time to plan for end-of-life care is before you need it. It is best to create advance directives when you are relatively healthy and of sound mind.
Some people hesitate because they don’t know what they want, and are worried about changing their mind. You can rest assured, however, that the health care directive doesn’t take away your authority to make decisions when you are able to make them and you can change them any time.
If you have questions about advance directives or want to create/change your estate plan, call or e-mail us at (541)738-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a telephonic intake appointment. Please note that we are unable to answer any questions unless or until you have scheduled an intake appointment and met by telephone with one of our attorneys.
This website is for general informational purposes only and nothing contained herein constitutes legal advice. This website does not create an attorney-client relationship between any attorney at The Reynolds Law Firm, P.C., and the reader. The information contained on this website, while current at the time it was written, may not reflect the most current legal developments. The Reynolds Law Firm, P.C., expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this site.