Preneed Documents are typically part of an individual’s estate plan. Also referred to as advanced directives, preneed documents include living will, designation of health care surrogate, and durable power of attorney. These documents exist in all 50 states and are governed by state law. These documents allow others to make decisions concerning your health and finances.
Going in For Surgery… Do You Have a Living Will?
“Do you have a living will or advanced directives” is usually the first thing a hospital asks when you’re going in for surgery. The purpose of a living will is basically to know whether you want to be put on and kept on life support even if two treating physician indicate there is no chance of recovery. This advanced directive helps eliminate disputes between a spouse, parents, siblings, or other loved ones that can’t agree. Because of this, it prevents hard feelings and can prevent protracted hospital stays and bills that can bankrupt a family.
Can You Make Healthcare Decisions for Your Spouse? Children?
A designation of health care surrogate (DOHCS), also referred to as a health care proxy or health care power of attorney, allows another competent adult to make health care decisions for you. Which is particularly important when you’re incapacitated.
Most people assume they can make health care decisions for their spouse, their children or their parents. However, unless they are your minor child or you have been appointed by the courts as a guardian, you have no authority to make health care decisions for another person. That being said, it doesn’t mean hospitals won’t act to save someone’s life, but they will be limited in the treatment that they can do without proper authority.
Get a DOHCS for Parents, Spouse, Single Relative, 18-year-old Child
These documents are easily overlooked and hardly ever used … just like good insurance. But, if something happens to a parent, your spouse, your 19-year-old child, or your single brother, having it can save a whole lot of wasted time and money.
Do I Really Need a Durable Power of Attorney?
A durable power of attorney gives another adult the power to act on your behalf in most situations. This power continues until revoked, even if you become incapacitated. It’s EXTREMELY important to trust the person to whom you are power of attorney too. This person, called the attorney-in-fact, has the legal authority to sell and dispose of virtually all of your assets. However, for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia a power of attorney allows you or someone else the ability to manage someone else’s finances and affairs without requiring the appointment of a guardian and constant court involvement.
If you have any concerns surrounding the power of attorney, it is possible to limit the powers, or to place the power of attorney in a safe place only to be accessed if you become incapacitated. A power of attorney terminates upon the death of the principal (the person giving the power).
We’re Here To Help
At Dowd Law we can prepare or update all of your preneed documents. Preneed documents range in cost from $50 – $150 and are included in the complete estate planning packages. All prices include preparation and execution of the documents.