When one thinks of estate planning, they normally think of making a will and creating a trust which will dictate to whom their assets will go and instruct how and when to distribute them. While very important parts of estate planning, the will and trust is just a small part of the overall picture when it comes to protecting yourself, your loved ones, and your assets. Preparing for death is an important part of life to be sure, but one must also prepare for the chance that they might lose the ability to make decisions before they lose their life.
There are a few documents which help handle financial, medical, and legal issues in the event that you become too sick or injured to take care of them yourself. A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to name the person or persons whom you wish to handle your financial issues on your behalf if you are not able to do so. A Health Care Proxy names the person or persons that you want to handle your medical decisions. A HIPAA decides who has access to your medical records, and a living will explains your precise wishes in the event that you are ill or injured to the point that there is no reasonable hope for survival. Our estate planning lawyers at Lovenberg & Associates can explain them all to you, using their experience and knowledge to help you decide which methods would be best for your situation.
What is a Living Will?
A living will lays out your wishes should you become unable to communicate. Such a document not only protects your rights and wishes as a human being, but also protects your family and loved ones from having to make the impossible choices for you. No one should ever have to decide whether or not to stop life support on their own child, parent, spouse, or sibling. A living will makes sure that this decision is not left to those you love should you become unable to make or voice your feelings.
Living Wills in Massachusetts
Although the living will is not a binding legal document in Massachusetts, most courts give high consideration to the details laid out in such a directive. With the living will, our lawyers can help you explain your desires of what medical intervention you would or would not want in various scenarios. While many picture a living will as something that would only be used in the case of an accident involving severe brain trauma and/or coma, they are also useful after a heart attack, congestive heart failure, advanced cancer stages, or any other injury or illness that leaves the patient in a persistent vegetative state.