-A living will, or Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD), is an important document for every adult, regardless of the value of the estate. The attorneys at Toews Law Group, Inc., providing counsel about living wills in San Luis Obispo have released a report to help you realize the important role an AHCD plays in your wishes.
The AHCD is legal instructions expressing your directives for medical care in the event you are unable to make decisions. Even though the AHCD is included in estate plans, it is an important document regardless of your financial situation because it guides the choices for doctors, caregivers and relatives if you are terminally ill or seriously injured, in the late stages of dementia or at the end of life.
Every adult needs an AHCD because accidents happen. Even a young adult can be seriously injured or become terminally ill. With planning, you can make sure you have the medical care you want and relieve loved ones of making final decisions. Telling a close friend or relative about your final wishes isn’t enough. There is always the chance that person is not available or a close relative’s decisions may over rule anything you said.
In addition, there are financial matters to be considered:
- Who will pay your bills if you are incapacitated?
- Who can make legal decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated?
A durable power of attorney in conjunction with an AHCD makes sure medical and other bills are paid, legal matters concerning finances and possessions, even pending legal issues are appropriately addressed. The Toews Law Group, Inc. in San Luis Obispo can provide solid advice about living wills and durable power of attorney.
Questions about living wills often include:
- What do I include in the AHCD?
- What’s the difference between the AHCD and power of attorney?
- Do I need a will?
- What’s the difference between a will and an estate plan?
- Who are the best people to choose to make sure my wishes are honored?
- Why do I need an attorney?
The AHCD includes information about the medical care you want such as comfort and life-saving measures and gives doctors the information they need to make those critical decisions. It also names someone (or more than one person) to make decisions if you are unable to do so and specifies other matters such as burial, cremation and organ donations.
A power of attorney gives a person or persons the ability to handle your finances and make legal decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. The power of attorney usually ends upon death. How your financial matters are settled after death, and how any remaining assets are distributed is the matter of a will and an estate plan. A will alone can be challenged and is subject to probate court, which may not adhere to your wishes. An estate plan, often including a trust, makes sure all of your last wishes, including how personal possessions are distributed, are honored. Anyone who has anything of value, including jewelry, family heirlooms or a home can benefit from the peace of mind that comes with an estate plan.
Who you designate as your health care proxy, the agent for power of attorney and administrator of your will or estate plan depends on several things, including how much you trust the people you choose. It’s not unusual to designate more that one person for any of these important jobs.
Using free online forms for the AHCD, power of attorney, will and other legal documents might work in some cases, but there are many things to consider that are rarely included with the instructions. When any legal document is not completed and filed correctly, there is the possibility your wishes can be challenged and ultimately not honored. A consultation with experts in estate plans, wills, powers of attorney and matters of living wills, such as the attorneys at San Luis Obispo’s Toews Law Group, Inc. can give you the assurance and peace of mind to know your wishes will be honored.
Toews Law Group, Inc.
1212 Marsh Street, Suite 3
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401