Monday, August 24, 2009

Planning for Disability

All of us are swamped with busy schedules. No one ever thinks that he or she will ever be the person who is incapacitated or disabled. Yet, statistically, a person is seven time more likely to experience incapacity rather than sudden death. It is reported that less than a third of Americans adults, and less than half of nursing-home patients, have ever created any advanced directives setting forth one's wishes and medical desires.

An advance medical directive typically has two parts: a health care power of attorney and a living will. The health care power of attorney for health care, designates a person, such as a spouse or trusted friend, who can legally act as your agent, making medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated. Meanwhile, the living-will portion describes the type of care you would want if you are critically ill. The Missouri Bar offers a free down loadable form here. However, I would strongly urge anyone to seek a competent estate planning attorney to fine tune and develop legal documents that reflect one's hopes, goals and objective in this area. These forms are state specific.

An advanced directive is for the benefit of the living as well as the person who creates them for himself or herself. Anyone who has ever had to make these kind of medical decisions for a loved one knows how emotionally difficult it can be for the decision maker. Leaving instructions that tell someone you trust what you want and how you wish to be treated is a loving act for the benefit of those who are left behind.

Every estate plan should address these issues and create instructions that reflect the client's hopes, dreams and goals.

1 comment:

  1. Here is a link to a news story that may help one understand the need for estate planning: