Advanced Directives Should Be Part of Every Estate Plan

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Here’s a tough question that everyone should contemplate.

If you were in a coma or vegetative state with no hope of recovery, would you want to continue living?

Or would you prefer that your life support be removed?

If it’s a tough question for you to answer, imagine how hard it would be for your family to make the decision on your behalf.

That is why everyone should have some type of “statement of desires” or “advanced directives” written down when planning an estate.

Generally, the best place to document your wishes is in your health care proxy.

This is a document that appoints someone (your “health care agent”) to make medical decisions on your behalf.

There is no simple “statement of desires” or “advanced directive” that suits everyone’s needs.

But most should contain the following provisions:

1. There should be a medical determination that there is no chance of recovery.

2. Medical staff should continue to use any medicine or treatment that is reducing your pain and suffering.

3. Finally, a clause should be added which will give your agent some discretion over the matter. For example, “this statement of desires is intended to give my Agent guidance and not to restrict or bind my Agent.”

Both your health care agent and your doctors should have a copy of the document.

And the original should be easily accessible as well.

If you have any questions regarding advanced directives or estate planning in general, please feel free to contact me at justin@jrmccarthy.com.

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