Health Care Advance Directives
A complete estate plan should address health care issues that may arise in one’s life through advance directives.
Nobody wants to think about what might happen if one should become ill, incapacitated or mentally incompetent, but giving thought to the issues before they happen allows you to establish plans of action or treatment, called advance directives, for your care.
In order to establish your desires and help insure that your wishes are carried out, you can set of advance directives that can guide others in the event that you become unable to communicate your wishes. There are several types of advance directives that are recognized in North Carolina. These include a Health Care Power of Attorney, am Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment, an Advance Directive for a Natural Death (also known as a living will) and an Organ/Tissue Donor Request. While some of these advance directives can be addressed in the same document, there may be reasons not to do so. You need to consult with your attorney to determine what will work best to meet your particular needs.
A Health Care Power of Attorney assigns someone that you know and trust as an agent to make important health care decisions should you become unable to do so. This assignment will go into effect when a doctor or similar authority states that you are no longer able to either make decisions or communicate your decisions about your health care. At that point, your designated agent will be called upon to act on your behalf and make decisions regarding your health care.
An Advance Instruction for Mental Health is a similar type of advance directive that deals specifically with your mental health needs. It can establish your wishes in the event that you become unable to make or communicate decisions about mental health issues and treatment. It also can assign someone you trust to be your agent and to make such decisions on your behalf.
An Advance Directive for a Natural Death is also known as a Living Will. This document communicates to others what you do and do not wish to have done as interventions should you be faced with an incurable irreversible condition. You can direct that a physician not use certain life-prolonging interventions such as feeding tubes or breathing machines.
An Organ/Tissue Donor Request is an advance directive that indicates whether you wish to have your organs or tissue donated to others upon your death. Often this is a way that your legacy can continue beyond death as a part of you benefits the life of someone else.
Regardless of your desires, your estate plan should contain advance directives that can help assure that your wishes are carried out with regard to your health care. Call or email Randy today to discuss your estate needs.