As we get older, there may come a time when we need some assistance in managing our affairs and making important decisions. Even so, it is important to retain as much autonomy as possible, while enduring the least amount of intrusion. Fortunately, you can make choices now, while you are capable of doing so, that will ensure the person of your choice is designated to make those decisions for you when you no longer can. Our firm can help you create the comprehensive plan that meets your needs, while considering the possibility of future incapacity, long term or terminal illness.
Both state and federal laws guarantee your fundamental right to control your own life. With these rights comes the ability to choose who will be allowed to make certain decisions for you if you ever become incapacitated. That choice can be made right now. Advance directives are written legal documents that give others instructions or “directives” in advance, in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself in the future, due to incapacity. Advance planning should include instruments such as a power of attorney, the appointment of a health care agent, a living will or an advance medical directive.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the authority to handle your affairs. You have to be at least eighteen years old and mentally competent to execute a power of attorney. That means that a relative, for example, cannot simply “get” a power of attorney over you because you have become incapacitated. If you execute a “durable” power of attorney, it will remain in effect even if you become incapacitated. An experienced incapacity planning attorney will carefully draft your power of attorney so that it addresses Medi-Cal planning and other issues that can affect you and your estate long term.
Living Wills and Advance Health Care Directives
A living will is a legal document that allows you toexpress your wish to die without the use of extraordinary life support measures if you are terminally ill. Your attending physician must certify in writing that you have an incurable injury, illness or disease and that your death is likely to occur in a short period of time, before a living will can become effective. The physician must also certify that the use of life-prolonging procedures would only serve to lengthen the dying process. Advance health care directives are legal documents that provide instructions regarding the type of medical treatment you consent to receiving. They also serve to ensure that your wishes regarding healthcare and end of life care are respected. Advance health care directives are an efficient and flexible way to plan specifically for future health care.
We Prepare Documents to Fit Your Individual Needs
While some incapacity planning forms (such as the living will) can be found online, it is always advisable to consult an experienced incapacity planning attorney for advice and preparation of these important legal instruments. Everyone’s situation is unique, so your planning documents must be tailored to meet your individual needs.