All adults should create advance directives at some point in their lifetime, preferably sooner rather than later. Advance directives, also known as designation documents, are documents that help you decide how your finances and health care decisions will be handled if you ever become incapacitated or decide you no longer want to be in charge of those decisions. These documents include a Power of Attorney and Advanced Health Care Directive, and even if you already have these documents, it’s important to have them reviewed by an experienced Los Angeles County will and trust lawyer every few years to make sure they still match your wishes and your current situation.
A Power of Attorney lets you name a representative or agent to act on your behalf in financial matters. Younger people often utilize Springing Powers of Attorney since they only come into effect if the person is medically unable to make decisions on his or her own. Seniors often choose to use a Durable Power of Attorney, which allows an adult child or other loved one to care for their financial matters without proving any kind of medical disability. This is done so the senior does not have to pay bills or go to the bank; instead, they allow that responsibility to fall to their agent, who has a fiduciary duty to make the best financial decisions possible. To determine what kind of Power of Attorney is right for you, you should contact an experienced Los Angeles County will and trust attorney so they may review your current situation.
An Advanced Health Care Directive allows you to name a representative or agent to make decisions about medical matters in the event of your incapacitation. It also leaves instructions for end-of-life care and can be used in conjunction with a Do Not Resuscitate order. You should speak to an experienced estate and elder law attorney about your feelings concerning end-of-life care and be sure to share those feelings with your agents. An experienced Los Angeles County will and trust lawyer can provide guidance regarding the elements of an Advanced Health Care Directive to help you make a decision that’s best for your individual situation.
If you would like to learn more about choosing the designation documents that work the best for your situation, or if you’d like to discuss your existing designation documents and whether they match your current financial and medical wishes, please set up an appointment at our Encino elder law office by calling (818) 905-6088.