Sorting through your estate planning needs is an activity many people don’t do early enough in life. Among 795,909 Americans across 150 studies, it was found that 36.7 percent had completed some advance directive. Only 29.3 percent had completed a living will that contains actual care wishes, and 33.4 percent had designated a health care power of attorney. If you need an advance directive or you’re not entirely sure what it entails, speaking with an attorney can help.
For nearly 45 years, my firm — Adams, Cassese & Papp L.L.C. — has helped generations of families in Woodbridge, New Jersey, Sayreville, Perth Amboy, and Edison, handle estate planning affairs such as advance directives. Contact me immediately so we can begin discussing your unique situation and ensure the process is in full compliance with all relevant laws.
An advanced directive, also known as a living will, is a legal document that defines and dictates what you want to happen to you if you can no longer make those decisions for yourself. Referencing healthcare, it generally has to do with directions about whether you want extreme measures taken on your behalf or other certain medical situations.
The decisions covered under advanced care involve a few options while you are living, such as whether or not CPR should be used, ventilator use, and artificial feeding. It also involves DNR, or do not resuscitate, orders. This involves CPR as well as using a defibrillator.
Living wills also cover what can happen to you after your death medically. This is mostly in regards to organ and tissue donations.
Appointing a health care representative is an important aspect of a living will. This person is the one who is going to be your advocate and make sure that your wishes are honored if the situation arises.
You can appoint anyone to be your health care representative, but it is a choice that should not be taken lightly. Usually, it is a loved one that you trust to carry out your wishes. It is always a good idea to choose someone who lives in close geographical proximity to you, as that makes it easier to deal with the doctors and anyone else who is in charge of your care. They should also be someone who you know will advocate on your behalf.
Writing and finalizing your living will does not mean that it is the only version of your living will that exists. You can easily change your mind as time passes and you get older, or if you become ill and have to seriously consider the possibility of being medically incapacitated.
Modifying your living will is possible. You may formally revoke it. This process must go through the proper legal channels and involves more than just ripping it up. Be sure to speak with an attorney if there is any aspect of your living will that you want to alter or destroy.
The decisions involved in a living will are difficult to think about, but documenting your decisions now is important should those situations arise. Instead of your loved ones not knowing what you want and having to make those decisions in a vulnerable time, you will have already eased that part and done it for them. Let Adams, Cassese & Papp L.L.C. help you with these decisions. If you live in Woodbridge, New Jersey, as well as Edison, Sayreville, and Perth Amboy, contact me today to set up a consultation.