What happens if I become Incapacitated:
Incapacity is a lack of physical or mental abilities that results in a person's inability to manage his or her own personal care, property or finances. A thorough estate plan should take this possibility into account. It is very important to plan for incapacity by preparing a few simple legal documents to ensure that medical and financial wishes are carried out if you are unable to speak and act on your own behalf. These legal documents are a Living Will, Medical Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a written statement of wishes concerning the use of extraordinary medical treatment or artificial nutrition and fluids to keep you alive if there is no reasonable hope of recovery from a terminal illness or accident. A Living Will gives medical personnel permission to withhold or withdraw life support systems that will merely delay death. If you don't have a Living Will, your family will be left with the decision and they may not be able to agree on what action to take. By having a Living Will, it allows you to make the decision.
What is a Medical Power of Attorney?
A Medical Power of Attorney is a document that allows someone else to make medical decisions for you, if you cannot make them on your own behalf. The appointed health care agent may be any competent person who is at least eighteen (18) years old and not providing paid health care to you. This person is usually a trusted family member or friend. The Medical Power of Attorney becomes effective when you are unable to communicate your wishes due to any illness or injury.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document that allows someone else to make financial decisions for for you, if you cannot make them on your own behalf. The appointed agent called the attorney-in-fact may be any competent person who is at least eighteen (18) years old. This person is usually a trusted family member or friend. The Durable Power of Attorney becomes effective when you are unable to manage your own legal or financial affairs, as determined in writing by two unrelated physicians.