While end of life planning is not the most pleasant subject to broach, it is one of the most important; end of life planning ensures that your rights and preferences are protected when you are no longer able to express your wishes.
Two of the most important end of life documents that should be part of your estate plan are a power of attorney and an advance directive.
For help in understanding the power that these documents hold, as well as how to create each, contact the Erik Johnson Law Offices today.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that names an individual to speak and make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to do so.
The power of attorney can be anyone of your choosing, so long as they are a mentally competent adult 18 years or older.
There are two types of power of attorney: a financial power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney.
As each type’s name implies, a financial power of attorney is an individual who has the ability to make financial decisions on your behalf, whereas a healthcare power of attorney can make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
You can choose a single power of attorney to do both, or choose separate individuals for each.
An advance directive simply refers to a legal document that describes your preferences for your end of life care.
For example, your advance directive may express your wishes in regards to life support, organ donation, brain death, end of life sustaining options, pain relief options, and more, and name a healthcare power of attorney. An advance directive often includes a living will.
It is important to know that an advance directive and living will can be changed at any time while you are alive and of a sound mental state.
It is common for people to have different end of life wishes at age 80 than they did when they were age 20. If your wishes change, your advance directive can be amended to reflect those changes.
What Happens if You Do Not Have a Power of Attorney or Advance Directive?
When you have not legally expressed your wishes regarding what should happen to you in the event of a medical emergency where you are unable to voice your desires, you place a large burden on your loved ones’ shoulders.
Your family may be tasked with the emotional decision of whether or not to take you off of life support, whether or not to take all measures possible to extend your life, and more.
These decisions cannot only be divisive for family members, but also heart wrenching as well. Creating an end of life plan is not only very responsible, but extremely considerate, too.
Work with an Experienced Ada Attorneys
At the Law Offices of Erik Johnson, our talented Oklahoma estate planning attorneys can help you to put together all aspects of an estate plan, including end of life documents.
To learn more about what needs to be included in your end of life plan, call us today at (580) 279-1975.