No one really likes to contemplate the possibility of being incapacitated, terminally ill, or unable to function normally. Although these are unpleasant things to think about, planning in advance can provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have appointed someone trustworthy and caring to look out for you if you can no longer look after yourself.
This is where “advance directives” come in. Many people have a vague idea of advance directives without really knowing what they are or how they factor into an estate plan. The term “advance directives” describes a few different types of documents that direct, in advance, how you want your health care decisions to be handled if you can no longer make decisions for yourself.
Some people avoid creating advance directives because they mistakenly believe that they lose all power over their own health decisions once they appoint someone to serve as their health care agent. In reality, an advance directive only becomes effective in the event you become incapacitated. You can also tailor your advance directives specifically to your wishes.
Living Will or Health Care Directive
A living will or health care directive allows you to specify your wishes for end-of-life health care decisions. Common topics addressed in a living will include life support, feeding and hydration, and palliative care. You can also designate an agent to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable.
Health Care Power of Attorney
Whereas a living will addresses only end-of-life care, a health care power of attorney encompasses all types of health care decisions. If you are unable to make your own decisions, the health care power of attorney gives your agent the authority to make them for you. For example, if you undergo a surgery that involves unexpected complications, it may be necessary for doctors to make quick decisions about your treatment while you are unconscious and incapacitated.
A do not resuscitate (DNR) order directs medical personnel not to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating.
Minnesota Estate Planning and Probate Law Firm
Call the Minnesota probate and estate planning attorneys at Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC today at (651) 968-1457 today to learn more and to discuss your options.
This website has been prepared by Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.