Many people think having a will is enough to make sure assets are distributed according to their wishes, after death. But there are other considerations that go beyond the distribution of monetary and physical properties. When extraordinary life events occur and a person becomes incapacitated without the likelihood of recovery, decisions concerning your wishes for life support measures and other end-of-life medical decisions should be covered within your estate planning as an advanced medical directive.
It is important to speak with a Queens estate lawyer to discover the types of advanced directives you can create now to prepare for the future. A living will, along with a power of attorney are two legal forms that will ensure financial decisions are handled by whomever you select in case of the following types conditions:
- Coma or “persistent vegetative state”
- Brain death
In other cases of severe life-threatening injuries or illnesses such as advanced cancer diagnosis, a patient may determine it is their wish for extraordinary life support efforts to be terminated at a certain time or under certain conditions. This decision must be legally documented as an Advanced Medical Directive (Health Care Power of Attorney) to advise doctors in advance concerning your medical care.
Establish a Health Care Power of Attorney
Health care directives are a critical part of estate planning. Your decisions concerning medical treatment can be documented in several ways:
- Living Will – is restricted to end-of-life medical issues, such as ‘Do Not Resuscitate’, declining certain treatments/pain killers, and organ donation.
- Health Care Proxy – you name someone you trust to act as your agent for making health care decisions if you are unable to speak for yourself.
- Special Wishes Directive – your instructions for certain situations such as being impaired by Alzheimer’s or being unconscious for a short time.
Special Medical Wishes Directives to Consider
Depending on which state you live in, the laws allows for ‘special wishes’ to be considered in certain circumstances. When making your advanced directives legal documentation, make several photocopies of the completed forms and keep one in an accessible but safe location. Other copies should be given to your attorney or advisor, your designated health care proxy, and your close family members.
For more information on directives specific to New York State, click here. Consult with a Queens Estate Lawyer to discuss these types of special wishes you may want to include in your advanced medical directives or living will:
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders – Applies within a hospital setting
- Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) Orders – Applies to EMS or outside of a hospital
- Determination of Incapacitation
- Life Sustaining Treatment Orders
- Pain Management
- Pregnancy and Birth Complications
- Hospice Care
- Palliative Care
- Organ and Tissue Donation
It’s better to make your wishes known so they may be honored when or if the time comes when life-threatening or life-ending decisions must be made on your behalf.