How can an advanced health care directive benefit you and your family?
It is perhaps impossible for a healthy adult to fully imagine losing a significant portion of his or her cognitive ability through disease, a serious accident or age. Yet more than five million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and millions more have experienced memory and decision-making challenges through other afflictions and events. Because of the ever-present possibility of sudden or eventual incapacity, it is imperative that you protect your family and your assets through estate planning.
A key component of estate planning is the creation of an advance health care directive, also referred to as a living will, a personal directive, an advance directive, an advance decision or a durable power of attorney for health care (though, in Michigan, some of these terms actually refer to other estate planning tools which are not legally identical to an advance health care directive). An advance health care directive and accompanying legal tools can be used to:
• Specify who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so
• State which technology should be used and under which circumstances to prolong life
• Specify whether you would like to be an organ donor/make a “declaration of an anatomical gift”
• State your wishes under Michigan's Do Not Resuscitate Procedure Act
• Communicate whether your advocate has the legal power to halt food and/or water administered through a feeding tube
• State whether you'd like to be admitted to a nursing home
• Specify where you'd like to die (home, hospital, nursing home or elsewhere)
• Spare your family from making agonizing decisions
Advance health care directives are relatively simple to create in Michigan with the assistance of a qualified estate planning or elder law attorney. It is important to note, however, that once incapacitation occurs and you are no longer of “sound mind,” you no longer have the legal right to sign many documents or select a person to make decisions on your behalf. To begin the process of creating an advance health care directive today, contact Auburn Hills estate planning attorney Andrew Byers by calling (248)301-1511.
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