Life is full of unanticipated events. If a person were to suddenly become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for herself/himself, who would make sure that proper care is taken? Advance directives are essential documents that address the unexpected events one might face later in life.
Living Wills: One of the first things that an elder law attorney learns upon entering the profession is the importance of Advance Directives – the forms that document a person’s health and financial wishes should they remain alive, but incapacitated. The most poignant of these declarations are Living Wills. A Living Will states your life-sustaining medical treatment wishes in the event that you are unable to communicate them. A Living Will is a set of instructions to be followed. You have the power to control your care during life’s most difficult moments.
Powers of Attorney: Life continues even if you are experiencing a health crisis or a loss of function. Based on that premise, the Power of Attorney form is an Advance Directive that is a necessity. Bills have to be paid, checks written and financial records must be maintained. Without a Power of Attorney in place, your loved ones would be faced with limited options to take care of even the most basic transactions. A Power of Attorney keeps a person’s financial life from falling apart.
Health Care Proxies: Choosing a Health Care Proxy means choosing the person who will speak for you when you cannot speak. Your Health Care Proxy will make your health care decisions when you are unable to. A Health Care Proxy can consent to or refuse medical procedures and treatments. It goes without saying that the person you choose should be someone close and trustworthy. They hold your life in their hands.
Properly drafted NYS Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, and Health Care Proxies ensure that the person/people of your choosing will manage your financial affairs and making the health-care decisions for you that you would have made for yourself. Without these essential documents in place, your loved ones may be required to petition the court for guardianship.
At Sloan & Feller, we can assist you in creating comprehensive and legally sound documents. Doing so will give you the peace of mind knowing that, if the need were to ever arise, you will get the care you would have wanted – overseen by the people in your life you trust the most.
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