Living Wills and Other Advance Directives Help You Plan for Emergencies

Estate planning is not just about how you want your property handled following your death. It can also be a vital part of ensuring your health and economic well-being later in life. This includes planning for emergency situations in which you may be unable to make decisions for managing your healthcare and financial affairs. By executing legal documents known as advance directives, you can spell out your wishes for how you want care providers and people you trust to proceed with your healthcare and property management decisions.

There are three types of advance directives that every adult should consider creating:

  • Living will — This directive lets you control the types of life-prolonging treatment you wish to be given or withheld. Your living will lets your loved ones and medical providers know when you don’t want heroic measures to be taken to save or prolong your life. Typical provisions in a living will state that the person does not want to be kept alive if they have been deemed brain dead or are in a condition that means permanent dependence on a life-support machine.
  • Power of attorney — With this document, you appoint a person, known as an agent, to manage your financial affairs in your name. The power can be made to take effect upon your becoming incapacitated and to terminate upon specified conditions. You can give your agent general power to carry out oversight and management of your financial matters or you can limit the power to specified actions, such as buying or selling real estate or personal property or making tax planning decisions.
  • Healthcare proxy — With this document, you designate someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend, to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are not able to make them. A proxy is essentially a power of attorney that is limited to healthcare matters. The proxy can give the agent as much or as little decision-making authority as you wish. The agent’s decisions must be followed by hospitals and other healthcare providers.

Creating these advance directives does not interfere with other aspects of your estate planning. In fact, a power of attorney can help preserve and protect the assets that you intend to leave to loved ones and other beneficiaries through a will, a trust or other means.

For help with creating and executing advance directives or with other estate planning matters, contact the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. in Rochester, New York. We are a family-focused, Christian law firm committed to advancing our clients’ best interests. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online.


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