Mississippi Estate Planning Attorneys Counsel Clients on Advance Healthcare Directives
Helping clients express their healthcare preferences
Do you ever think about what might happen to you if you become incapacitated and are unable to make sound choices with regard to your healthcare? Your family members and loved ones would be left to discuss treatment and end-of-life care with your doctor, and they might not have any idea about your preferences. At Cumbest, Cumbest, Hunter & McCormick , we help clients make their preferences known as part of their overall estate plans.
What does an advance healthcare directive do?
The purpose of an advance healthcare directive is to communicate your preferences about medical treatments and let you appoint a trusted person to advocate for you when you can’t speak for yourself. It also designates your preferred primary care physician. If you want to be sure that your wishes are carried out even when you are unable to voice them yourself, then you need to create an advance healthcare directive.
Your attorney will have a blank healthcare directive form that you can fill in, or you can draft your own form. Include the kinds of treatments you prefer and the ones you do not want and whether you would want to be kept on life support.
On this form you also appoint someone you trust, such as a spouse, sibling or other close family member, as your agent. This person must be ready and willing to come to your aid at a moment’s notice if you become incapacitated and must be willing to assert your wishes even in the face of opposition from other concerned family members if it comes to a dispute.
When the form is complete, you get it notarized and place a copy of it with the rest of your estate plan. Make sure the primary care physician you selected also has a copy on file. Also make sure your spouse or close relative has a copy in case you are hospitalized away from your home area and your doctor cannot be present.
What are the advantages of having an advance healthcare directive?
One of the biggest advantages of setting up an advance healthcare directive while you are of sound mind and health is the peace of mind that it will give you. No longer will you have to worry about what might happen if you end up in the hospital on life support. Once you have appointed a healthcare power of attorney, that person will speak on your behalf and enforce your wishes despite what others might say.
An advance healthcare directive is also advantageous if you become incapacitated by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and are unable to handle your own financial affairs or care for yourself. Without an advance healthcare directive, one of your relatives might have to go to court to seek guardianship of your person, but you would not have any control over who that person would be unless you make the selection yourself in your documents.
An advance healthcare directive might also be part of your special needs trust for your disabled loved one. Right now, if you are the one who deals with doctors and healthcare facilities on your child’s behalf, completing an advance healthcare directive allows you to appoint a power of attorney to fulfill that role when you are unable to do so.
An advance healthcare directive is an essential aspect of estate planning. If you have not yet made arrangements for how you will pass along your assets to your heirs, consider how much you can benefit from a consultation with an estate planning attorney. At Cumbest, Cumbest, Hunter & McCormick, our attorneys can counsel you on the appropriate strategies for asset protection and the tax consequences of each option.
Contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney today to discuss advance healthcare directives and how one can benefit you in the future
At the law firm of Cumbest, Cumbest, Hunter & McCormick, we understand that it can be awkward to talk about and make plans for a time when you might not be able to express your preferences about healthcare treatments and procedures. We can help you put a solid plan in place that will ease your mind. Contact us online or call us at 866-461-1591 to schedule a confidential consultation today.