With summer quickly approaching, if you are preparing to travel, don’t forget these important legal documents you need to include in your suitcase. We never think an accident or illness will happen while away from home. Are you prepared? There are two legal documents you will want to have a copy of in case of an emergency.
First, your Healthcare Power of Attorney (also known as a health care proxy or surrogate) is a Durable Power of Attorney specifically designed to name someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so. When choosing a health care agent, select someone who will keep your best interests and wishes in mind. Not all powers of attorney are created equal, so be sure you bring your Healthcare Power of Attorney and not your Financial Durable Power of Attorney.
Second, your Living Will (also known as an advance medical directive) is a declaration setting forth your wishes regarding how you want to be treated with respect to life prolonging medical procedures. A Living Will applies in situations where you are unable to make your own decision, you have either a terminal condition, end stage condition or are in a persistent vegetative state and your doctors have determined there is no reasonable medical probability of your recovery. If these elements are present, then your Living Will says you do not want to be kept alive by life prolonging procedures (respiration, hydration or nutrition) but you will accept a procedure or medication that will alleviate your pain or provide comfort care.
Your healthcare documents will not do you any good if no one knows about them; you will need to talk with the person you designate in them to make sure they know where you keep them. If you are traveling, put a copy in your suitcase or save a copy to one of the many cloud storage programs available today.
Remember, your Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will go into effect if you meet specific medical criteria and are unable to make decisions for yourself. If you do not have these valuable planning tools, feel free to contact The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.
About the Author: Peggy Hoyt Peggy R. Hoyt practices in the areas of family wealth and legacy counselling, including trust and estate planning and administration, elder law, small business creation, succession and exit planning, real estate transactions and animal law.