When you plan your estate, you should see the complete picture. Yes, you have to address the way your assets will be distributed after you pass away. At the same time, it is also important to consider end-of-life issues.
Powers of Attorney
It is not a very pleasant thing to think about, but a lot of people become unable to make sound decisions at some point in time. You may be surprised to hear that Alzheimer’s strikes 10 percent of all seniors, and more than 30 percent of people 85 years of age and up have the disease.
The life expectancy for someone that is 67 is at least 85 years, and most people think that they will live long enough to collect Social Security. These are some eye-opening statistics, and of course, Alzheimer’s is not the only cause of cognitive impairment.
In addition to mental incapacity, some folks became unable to communicate due to physical problems that come about due to illnesses and accidents. People of all ages can be confronted by these challenges, so everyone should take incapacity planning seriously.
Documents called durable powers of attorney will be part of the plan. The “durable” part is relevant, because this type of power of attorney will remain in effect if you become incapacitated.
Your plan should include a durable power of attorney for property to empower someone to act as your financial representative. You can include a durable power of attorney for health care to name an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if it becomes necessary.
We should point out the fact that you do not have to use the same person to fill both of these roles. If you feel as though the best money manager would not be the ideal medical decision maker, you can name two different representatives
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was passed to protect patient information. Among other things, it prevents doctors from releasing medical information to anyone other than the patient. However, the patient can choose to waive these protections.
Since you may not be in a position to do so if you are in the midst of a medical crisis, you should account for this in advance. When you are creating your plan, you should include a HIPAA release to give your health care agent (and anyone else you choose) the ability to speak freely with your doctors.
A living will is an advance directive for health care that should be used in tandem with the durable power of attorney. In a living will, you state your preferences with regard to the utilization of mechanical respiration, resuscitation, and artificial nutrition and hydration.
You can be specific and go down the list if you have different thoughts about each respective life support method. Your living will can also include your organ and tissue donation choices along with your comfort care medication preferences.
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We want to emphasize the fact that this type of planning is important for young adults, even people that are in their late teens. As soon as your child celebrates their 18th birthday, doctors will not be able to tell you anything about any medical condition, even if they are away at college.
Regardless of your marital status or family dynamic, we are here to help if you are ready to take this important step. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 248-251-1001.