An often overlooked, yet very important part, of estate planning is incapacity planning. There may come a time when you become incapacitated and are unable to communicate. It doesn’t matter what your age or health may be. Accidents happen and sudden illnesses develop. Put a plan in place now so that, should you ever become incapacitated, your loved ones and doctors will be clear on your wishes. One legal document that is vital to this plan is a living will.
Why You Need a Living Will
To plan for incapacity, you should, at a minimum, have two health care legal documents in place. The first is a health care power of attorney. This allows you to appoint a trusted individual to make health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. The second document is living will. A living will outlines what types of medical treatment you would wish to receive or not receive under certain circumstances in the event that you are unconscious or are otherwise incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes yourself. A living will can be as specific as you would like or general. It can include things such as whether or not you would want to be kept on artificial life support and when you would want this type of support terminated. In California, the health care power of attorney and a living will come in a single form that is referred to as an “advanced health care directive.”
A living will can bring you much-needed peace of mind about a future that is otherwise uncertain. The unexpected does happen. You can plan for it, to a certain extent. With a living will in place, you can outline your wishes in a legally binding document. You can know that, even if there comes a time when you cannot speak for yourself, your wishes are memorialized in this document. This can ease some of the burdens that may come with an uncertain future.
A living will for yourself is also not just for you. It provides an invaluable service to your family and loved ones. Should anything happen to you, your family would have to guess at what you would have wanted. They would essentially be forced to make decisions regarding things such as life support. Having to guess at your wishes would be an incredible burden on loved ones who are already overwhelmed with the situation. Help your loved ones find some relief in an otherwise very difficult situation. Make your health care choices clear in an advanced healthcare directive.
Trusted Estate Planning Attorney
At the Law Office of Rodney Gould, we will develop a comprehensive estate plan for you that includes a complete incapacity plan. We are dedicated to providing our clients with estate plans that fit their unique circumstances and wishes. Do not wait on putting these critical legal plans in place. Contact us today.
Posted in: Wills and Trusts