Make Sure Your Wishes Are Followed If You Get Sick
Only one-third of Americans currently have advance directives in place that dictate how they want to be treated if they fall ill. There are multiple types of legal documents you can create that make sure that you get the type of care you prefer if you are too sick to advocate for yourself. Understanding your options will help you find the one that works best for your needs.
Protect Yourself With Living Wills
Also called an instruction directive, a living will is, essentially, a document that lets you formally state your wishes for your care. The most basic issue people cover in a living will is usually whether they want their health care team to take extraordinary measures to sustain their lives.
A living will can also be used to address your preferences regarding matters like pain medication, tube feeding, antibiotic treatments and organ donation. A living will can be an extremely helpful document, but you have to be extremely specific in your instructions to your estate planning litigation lawyer if you want it to cover all potential situations.
Secure Your Interests With a Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy is a type of document that lets you choose who will make decisions for you if you are too sick to handle them yourselves. It is sometimes referred to as a durable power of attorney for health care. When you assign a health care proxy, that person becomes your health care representative as soon as you become incapacitated due to an illness or accident.
You can give your health care proxy instructions about how you would like him or her to handle various situations. However, what sets this apart from a living will is that your health care proxy can also help out in situations for which you have not set out specific instructions. This can be very helpful when planning for completely unforeseen problems. Health care proxies can do things like decide where you should be treated or select a medical procedure for you.
Get Assistance With a Power of Attorney
Living wills and health care proxies specifically focus on your health care. However, it is important to remember that health care conditions, like being stuck on a ventilator in a coma, will affect every aspect of your life. Likely, your finances, property or any businesses you run may need guidance while you are sick. This is where a power of attorney document comes in handy. When you get your estate planning litigation lawyer to draw up this document, your appointed person can do things like pay your bills, run your company or file your taxes while you are sick.
Which Option Should You Choose?
Do you need a living will, a power of attorney or a health care proxy? Making the decision on which measure will work best for you often comes down to how much control you want. When it comes to a living will versus power of attorney for health care, the deciding factor is often how broad you want to be. A living will is all about clearly stating your wishes while a health care proxy or power of attorney is more for making sure someone you trust can quickly handle decisions for you. Plenty of people have all three documents just to make sure they cover all their bases.
All of these documents can make sure that health care emergencies are handled according to your wishes, but they can only protect you if you put them in place before you are too ill. Since they are all fairly simple documents, you can often get one drawn up in just a few hours. The Knee Law Firm is passionate about all aspects of estate planning from drawing living wills to setting up a trust. Email us or call our Hackensack office at (201) 996-1200 to find out more about our services.