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What End-of-Life Documents Do I Need?

July 17, 2017 Estate Planning

Everyone should have an estate plan, regardless of wealth. And thanks to modern medicine, Texans are living longer lives. As we age, however, it is important to take time to make decisions about how our property and our healthcare should be managed in the event of a health crisis, as well as after we are gone. From powers of attorney to advance directives and living wills, McKinney estate planning attorneys can help ensure that your wishes are respected, giving piece of mind to you and your loved ones during a stressful and difficult time in your lives.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney names a representative to assist with financial and property matters. You may delegate to an agent whatever powers you believe the agent will need to manage your property. They are typically written to grant very broad powers to the agent, although you can delegate only specific powers. A “durable” power attorney remains in effect even if you become disabled.  With a medical power of attorney, you can appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions in the event you are incapacitated.

Advance Directives

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends and health care professionals, as well as to avoid confusion later on. There are several types of advance directives, including:

  • Declaration for Mental Health Treatment, which allows you to make decisions in advance about mental health treatment, including psychoactive medication, convulsive therapy and emergency mental health treatment
  • Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates, which is designed to help you communicate your wishes about medical treatment at some time in the future when you are unable to make your wishes known because of illness or injury
  • Out-of-Hospital Do Not Resuscitate Order, which authorizes a physician, in accordance with your wishes or those of your legally authorized representative, to issue an order directing healthcare professionals acting in out-of-hospital settings (such as a long-term care facility, hospice, or even a private home) to refrain from initiating or continuing certain life-sustaining procedures.

Living Wills

A “living will” can be set up so that physicians, family, or surrogates can carry out your wishes if you are unable to communicate due to incapacity. It allows you to specify what kind of medical treatment you would want (or not want) and directs your doctors to administer, withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments in the event of a terminal or irreversible condition.

A living will can cover the following medical treatments:

  • Resuscitation
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Tube feeding
  • Dialysis
  • Medications such as antibiotics
  • Comfort care
  • Organ and tissue donations

Let Our McKinney Estate Planning Attorneys Help You

If you need assistance with the preparation of end-of-life documents, we welcome you to contact us for a free consultation.