Here in Atlanta, living will attorneys know full-well the ramifications of not planning ahead for an unexpected disability. Even those clients who understand the importance of estate planning tend to overlook what would happen if they should become unable to care for themselves. It’s not the happiest thought, but the reality of not having a living will can make the situation considerably worse for both you and your family.
A major disability can be devastating to an entire family, both emotionally and financially. Pre-planning for the possibility can reduce some of the heartache that often accompanies these situations.
You may assume that your spouse would simply make decisions for you if and when a major problem takes place. Ask yourself, if he or she really wants to be responsible for some of those decisions. For example, if you were in a coma, how would your spouse react to making the choice of whether or not to stop life support? Even if your loved ones know your wishes, simply having them in a formal document can remove a considerable burden and amount of potential guilt.
A living will attorney can help you to draw up these documents so that your family does not have to make these choices. The attorney can also assist by offering insight into situations you likely wouldn’t have considered. Are you opposed to a blood transfusion? Are you adamantly against ending life support? What needs to happen if you become mentally disabled? Who should be given power of attorney over your other health-related issues?
Having a major illness or injury is very expensive and can keep you from working during and after hospitalization. Your Atlanta GA living will attorney will also advise you on what needs to happen financially if you are unable to take care of your own needs. For example, you will likely set up a power of attorney, as well as to determine how long-term care will be paid for. Will you need to sell your house? Will you be eligible for disability insurance? These are all questions that the living will attorney will go over with you.
There are plenty of other considerations that need to be addressed by a Atlanta Georgia living will attorney. From what will happen to your children to where you might end up in nursing care, there are choices that need to be made. Planning in advance with your attorney in Atlanta will ensure that your wishes are being followed if the time should come.
If you are ready to get started in creating a plan that will protect you and your family should incapacity or disability occur, give our office a call at 770-425-6060 and ask to schedule a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session. These sessions are normally $750, but you can come in free with the mention of this article. However, these sessions are limited to 10 per month so call today!
As an Atlanta estate planning attorney, I’m often asked, “what is exactly is a health care directive or living will?”
Basically, an Advance Healthcare Directive in Georgia, sometimes commonly known as a Living Will, is a legal document that permits someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. This type of document is commonly associated with the decision of maintaining or removing life support for a critically ill loved one, but Health Care Directives and Living Wills cover far more than that.
Specifically, a Georgia Health Care Directive, or “Living Will,” allows someone to:
– Decide if you want your life to continue on life support or if you want to have them withhold treatment. (aka “pulling the plug”)
– Pick a person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
– Make decisions about pain relief options.
– Decide if you want your organs to be donated.
– To make any other decisions about your health care and treatment.
As you can see, a Health Care Directive or a Living Will is essential for someone looking to have their wishes carried out in the event they die or become incapacitated.
The person you select to make the decisions for you is called your Healthcare agent. The agent will be acting on your behalf so their role is very important. When you are selecting your agent, you should consider a few things:
-He or she must be over the age of 18.
-He or she must be reliable and readily available in case something happens to you.
-He or she must be emotionally able to make end of life decisions for you.
-You should consider adding two to three alternative agents in the event that the primary agent is unable or unwilling to make the critical decisions.
-If you appoint your spouse as your agent, and your marriage is dissolved or annulled, your agent’s authority is automatically revoked, unless you specify otherwise.
-If you are pregnant, your health care directive will not be honored.
While a heath care directive can give someone the right to make all healthcare decisions for you, it is also possible to limit authority by clearly defining what their scope of power includes. For example, you may decide that your healthcare agent has the authority to decide what type of pain relief you are given, but limit their ability to decide whether to “pull the plug.” It is important to discuss this with an experienced Georgia estate planning attorney to make sure that you are very clear and specific in defining this scope.
Once a Georgia Advance Health Care Directive is signed, dated, and notarized or witnessed by two qualified persons, the Health Care Directive is valid forever, unless and until the individual revokes it. If the primary Agent refuses to follow the instructions dictated, the alternative Agents will be called upon to act on behalf of you, which is why it is important to name alternative Agents.
One final key point to consider when choosing your agent is that the person should actually want to have this responsibility. There are people who do not feel comfortable making such important decisions – even for their own spouse. Therefore, it is critical to have a conversation with whomever you are considering to ensure that they can and will able to make the decisions that you want them to make.
Setting up a Health Care Directive that truly protects your wishes in the event of your incapacity starts by meeting with an Atlanta estate planning lawyer. Here at GeorgiaFamilyLaw.com : Worrall Law, we’ve made that process easier than ever by offering free Georgia Family Treasures Planning Sessions (normally $750) each month to readers of our blog. However, these appointments are limited to 5 a month so call 770-425-6060 today to secure your spot.