What Is Typically Included In An Estate Plan (Part 2): Advance Health Care Directives & Property Management
Unfortunately, there are instances when people are simply unable to make decisions for themselves as a result of incapacity. This incapacity could be because of old age or a medical condition.
Advance Health Care Directive (also sometimes referred to as a “living will”) – This document allows you to designate a loved one to act on your behalf with regard to medical decisions. This document may also contain information regarding your end-of-life care.
You do not need an attorney to create an advance health care directive. There are many forms available. My preferred form is published by The Regents of the University of California, and can be found here: https://prepareforyourcare.org/advance-directive-state/ca.
There are a couple of other documents that are related to advanced health care directives such as a do-not-resuscitate form (“DNR”) and a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (“POLST”). A DNR informs medical providers that a patient does not wish to receive CPR if there is a medical emergency. A POLST, is an order which specifies specific medical wishes as to: 1) CPR; 2) use of a ventilator; or 3) artificial nutrition. In general, these documents are not typically recommended for young, healthy people.
Durable Power Of Attorney For Property Management/Finances – Similarly to the above, this document allows you to designate a loved one to act on your behalf with regard to management of your finances and property.
This document is useful even when a person is temporarily incapacitated such as in the event of a hospital stay. As your agent, your loved one will be empowered to write checks on your behalf, and manage your assets for you. Typically, your agent will be empowered to do things such as: filing and paying your taxes, transferring property into a trust, managing your investments, and filing legal actions on your behalf.
You can set forth your wishes as to when this power will take effect – either upon signing or upon an event springing the document into effect like incapacity. You can speak to your attorney about what is best for you.
Drop a line if you are interested in learning more about how I can assist you with this aspect of estate planning.