As part of my Comprehensive Estate Planning package, I offer a Living Trust, a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advanced Healthcare Directive. My experience is that most people know what a Living Trust is but are not so familiar with what an Advanced Healthcare Directive is. Today I am going to discuss that briefly.
An Advanced Healthcare Directive is a document that appoints a person to make medical decisions for your and also specifies things like the extent to which a person wants life support, artificial foods and fluids, pain medication, etc., in the event of a serious illness. The document also mentions the name and address of your primary care provider. Furthermore the document may specify what is to happen with your remains after you pass away, whether or not you authorize an autopsy, whether you want to be an organ donator, and whether your remains to be interred or cremated.
When does the Advanced Healthcare Directive take affect? People can provide that the advanced healthcare directive take effect immediately or alternately they can require a determination by one or more medical professionals that they are not able to make decisions for themselves.
Most people name their spouse, a child, a sibling or a close friend as their Power of Attorney for Healthcare. People can also provide for a back up.
I recommend that most people have a healthcare Directive. Many hospitals today provide for simple forms that can be filled out, or of course, an attorney can prepare a more detailed and comprehensive documents.
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