It’s Crucial to Prepare a Durable Power of Attorney & Healthcare Proxy
Many people mistakenly assume that if they have completed a will and have an active life insurance policy, that their estate planning worries are over. While it is prudent to make important decisions regarding allocation of personal property and inheritance, it is equally important to prepare for declining health or a medical emergency. Doing so would provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones. But how is it done? If you’ve assigned a trustee over a revocable trust, can they also make decisions on your behalf regarding health wishes? What about life support and hospice care?
What is a Healthcare Proxy or Healthcare Power of Attorney?
A healthcare proxy is a person you designate as power of attorney over you in the event you are physically or mentally incapacitated to make medical decisions on your behalf. For example, if a person were to enter into a coma, the treating physicians would consult the healthcare proxy about palliative care, whether the patient specifically requested no artificial assistance or not, and other decisions while the patient is incapacitated. Assigning a healthcare proxy while you are healthy saves you and your family the aggravation of arguing over who will make decisions on your behalf. In addition, if you have an advanced directive prepared in advance, your proxy would simply be enforcing the terms of your advanced directive and could provide it to your medical team for adherence. Fl. Stat. § 765.401 (2020). Sometimes an advanced directive is also referred to as a living will. It provides explicit written instructions regarding election of life support, artificial assistance, whether a person would want to be resuscitated or if they elect to donate organs in the event of their untimely death.
Consider Long-Term Care Planning
Long-term care planning is another step to consider during the estate planning process. Long-term care planning details how a person or couple will transition to assisted living or require the use of a home health nurse, and how the person will pay for additional assistance. Another common myth about growing older is that health insurance or Medicare covers assisted living expenses. Neither private health insurance nor Medicare covers home health care, long-term care or palliative care. Payors state an exception because assisted living facilities provide more than just healthcare services. Attendants might help a resident with basic household tasks like cleaning, preparing meals, or shaving. If you are concerned for the protection of your assets and retirement but know you may need long-term care in the near future, contact Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group to develop a long-term care strategy.
Call Millhorn Elder Law Today
Long-term care planning can be stressful to think about. None of us want to consider what would be done if the worst should happen, but it’s important to make a plan and consider a durable power of attorney, even if you never have the need to use it. Preparing for the future now frees up your time to enjoy your golden years and gives you control and autonomy over your health and plan of care when the time comes. If you have questions about healthcare proxies or long-term care planning, call an estate planning attorney at Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group today. He focuses on elder law and estate planning with offices conveniently located in The Villages. Schedule a consultation today.