How to get help with end-of-life planning
You may have been putting off end-of-life planning for yourself or a loved one. The process can be long and daunting. An experienced estate lawyer can help you complete the legal paperwork and compile the necessary documents.
There are many advantages to putting a plan in place sooner rather than later. Not only will you find peace of mind, but you also will send a message to your family that they will be taken care of. You can create a thoughtful and comprehensive end-of-life plan with the help of a knowledgeable attorney at the Law Firm of Brown & Jensen.
What is a lawyer’s role in crafting a plan?
An attorney can help guide you through each step of creating an end-of-life plan. You can expect the following services:
- Naming of a healthcare proxy and power of attorney: You will need a legal document that names someone you can trust as your agent to make important decisions if you are unable to express them yourself.
- Drafting a living will: This type of legal document – also called a healthcare directive or advance directive – is used to tell others what your choices are should you become incapacitated.
- Long-term care planning: An attorney can help go over services in your community and costs. You can create a plan for services that could involve care in your home or in a facility, such as a nursing home.
- Examining estate planning documents: If you already have estate planning documents, an attorney can review them and help you update them, if necessary. If you don’t have these documents, the Law Firm of Brown & Jensen can prepare them for you.
- Help with your debts and assets: Your debts won’t be wiped out after you die. By planning ahead, you can reduce the burden of your debt on your loved ones. An end-of-life-planning attorney also can assist with your assets to protect your estate and reduce settlement costs.
- Work with healthcare providers to make sure your wishes are met: Unfortunately, doctors and other healthcare professionals sometimes ignore end-of-life directives. Their failure to follow directives sometimes results in lawsuits.
Lawsuit filed over not honoring a living will
The New York Times in January of 2021 reported on a lawsuit brought by the widow of a man who died after doctors allegedly disregarded a New York State MOLST (medical orders for life-sustaining treatment) form. The Times reported that the man who died received unwanted treatment and tests. He lived for a month in an unresponsive state.
The widow stated that her husband experienced unnecessary suffering at the end of his life. She said that was because the doctors allegedly did not honor the living will, according to the Times report.
Unfortunately, as the Times report illustrates, medical institutions sometimes overlook documents in patients’ charts. In some cases, they may ignore information they receive from health care proxies. A doctor might override instructions in a living will.
An experienced attorney can coordinate end-of-life plans with medical professionals. If the plan is not honored, the family may have grounds to file a lawsuit.
How to contact an attorney
Don’t put off taking action. Many clients say they feel relief after contacting us and getting to work on an end-of-life plan. We understand it’s an unpleasant topic, but we want to help you achieve peace of mind. Contact the law firm of Brown & Jensen in Mesa, Arizona for a free consultation.