Should I include healthcare in my estate plan?
Whether you have already established an estate plan or plan on establishing one, it's important to take your healthcare decisions into consideration.
Even if you are young and healthy, there may come a time when you won't be able to make these decisions for yourself. You could become incapacitated due to an age-related health condition or due to a disease or injury long before then.
Healthcare decisions must be made in a written statement called a living will, or end-of-life planning that can be added into your estate plan. Unlike a will or living trust, a living will doesn't address any wishes pertaining to assets and property. It's exclusively limited to healthcare decisions while you're alive but incapacitated.
This would become effective if you end up:
- In a vegetative state
- In a coma
- Becoming terminally ill
- Suffer severe brain damage
- Suffer a serious disability
How will including healthcare decisions help my estate planning?
Including healthcare decisions in your estate plan does the following:
- It documents any health-related wishes you may have. This may include the type of treatment you wish to receive if you become incapacitated or become disabled (being kept alive by a feeding tube or receiving certain medications).
- It appoints your healthcare decisions to a proxy decision maker, which could be a relative. This would be done by completing an estate planning document called a power of attorney. Your healthcare proxy can either ensure that your wishes are carried out or make healthcare decisions on your behalf. When choosing a healthcare proxy, it's critical that you nominate someone who will respect your wishes, ensure all records are accurate, and not abuse his or her position.
How should I get started on my living will?
It may be difficult to acknowledge the state that you may someday be in. For some people, this subject may not seem immediately important. Simply having a living will and power of attorney in place will help to save your family the trouble of having to make difficult healthcare decisions, especially at a time when they may be grieving.
To get started on your living will, you must first consider your wishes. Ask yourself what you would want for you and family should you become incapacitated. You should also consult with an experienced Arizona estate planning attorney who can help you explore your options and ensure that your living will is properly established.
The attorneys at the Law Firm of Brown & Jensen are dedicated to helping Arizona residents meet their estate planning needs. We take a personalized approach to each of our clients and leave no stone unturned in the process. To schedule a free consultation with your legal team, simply contact us online or call our Mesa office at 866-867-3987.