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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Make Important Health Care Decisions While You are Healthy

We are all guilty of it. We take for granted our health. When we are feeling good, it can be difficult to imagine feeling otherwise. Health is, of course, a gift to be enjoyed, but it is not something to be complacent about. Even those of us who do all we can to maintain a safe and happy lifestyle are not immune from injury or sudden illness that could leave us incapacitated. While people may not want to think of such a prospect, the reality is that life can throw us through a loop when we least expect it. All we can do is be grateful for what we have today, plan for the future, and put protections in place so that our wishes are honored even when we may be unable to communicate them.

Make Important Health Care Decisions While You Are Healthy

Making important health care decisions and memorializing them in legal tools is critical to do while you are still healthy. If you wait until you are incapacitated, you have waited to long. We never know what the future will hold and that is why the time to act is now. Your estate plan should include important health care documents such as:

  • Durable power of attorney: A durable power of attorney allows you, the principal, to selecta trusted individual, your agent, to be empowered to conduct certain specified business on your behalf. The durability feature of this type of power of attorney means that it will survive the incapacitation of you, the principal. When properly implemented, a durable power of attorney can mean that there will not be a need for guardianship proceedings if you are rendered incapacitated and in need of assistance. This can be a huge benefit as guardianship proceedings can be stressful, take a lot of time, and be expensive. Also, a durable power of attorney allows you to select your agent whereas a guardianship appointment would be determined by the court.
  • Health care surrogate: A health care surrogate allows you to empower another person, your surrogate, to make health care decisions on your behalf should you be rendered incapacitated and unable to communicate your health care preferences for yourself.
  • Living will: A living will allows you to detail what kind of terminal, end of life care you wish to receive or not to receive in the event that you are incapacitated and cannot speak your wishes for yourself. A living will can be as detailed as you want and, the more detail you provide, the more informative it will be should the need arise to access it.

Putting these documents in place while you are healthy allows you to enjoy the peace of mind that can come with putting such protections in place. It can be comforting to know that your health care wishes have been memorialized in legal documents and you yourself have selected people you trust to positions of great responsibility over your care and management of your affairs.

Having these documents in place can also be a great comfort to your loved ones. If you are ever rendered incapacitated, your loved ones are likely to be overwhelmed. It can be difficult to have to guess at what someone would have wanted under the best of circumstances. A family confronted with the dire health situations of a loved one in addition to having to guess at treatment preferences is likely to go through great turmoil. Your forethought and the plans you put in place can help relieve them of such a burden.

Estate Planning Attorney

Do you have incapacity plans and health care documents in your estate plan? If not, the estate planning team at Monk Law can help you with that. Contact Monk Law today.


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| Phone: 803-594-4453
6000 Fairview Road, Suite 1200, Charlotte, NC 28210
| Phone: 704-369-9977

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