What is an advance Directive?
An advance directive in New York is a legal document that allows you to make decisions about your medical care in case you become unable to do so in the future. This document can include a health care proxy, which names someone to make decisions on your behalf, living wills, which outline your wishes for medical treatments, and instructions for organ donation. By having an advance directive in place, you can ensure that your wishes are respected should you become incapable of making decisions for yourself.
Why are Advance Directives Important?
Advance directives are important because they document your wishes for medical care if you are ever unable to communicate those wishes yourself. They are an important part of making sure that your wishes are respected and followed, even if you are not able to communicate them. Without an advance directive, your family and medical team may have to make decisions about your care without knowing your wishes. Advance directives also allow you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This can be especially important if you are facing a serious medical situation. By having an advance directive in place, you can ensure that your wishes are respected and that your medical care is in line with your wishes.
Types of Advance Directives?
One of the first things that an elder law attorney learns upon entering the profession is the importance of Advance Directives – the forms that document a person’s health and financial wishes should they remain alive, but incapacitated. The most poignant of these declarations is Living Wills. A Living Will states your life-sustaining medical treatment wishes in the event that you are unable to communicate them. A Living Will is a set of instructions to be followed. You have the power to control your care during life’s most difficult moments.
Powers of Attorney
Life continues even if you are experiencing a health crisis or a loss of function. Based on that premise, the Power of Attorney form is an Advance Directive that is a necessity. Bills have to be paid, checks written and financial records must be maintained. Without a Power of Attorney in place, your loved ones would be faced with limited options to take care of even the most basic transactions. A Power of Attorney keeps a person’s financial life from falling apart.
Health Care Proxies
Choosing a Health Care Proxy means choosing the person who will speak for you when you cannot speak. Your Health Care Proxy will make your health care decisions when you are unable to. A Health Care Proxy can consent to or refuse medical procedures and treatments. It goes without saying that the person you choose should be someone close and trustworthy. They hold your life in their hands.
Properly drafted NYS Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, and Health Care Proxies ensure that the person/people of your choosing will manage your financial affairs and making the health-care decisions for you that you would have made for yourself. Without these essential documents in place, your loved ones may be required to petition the court for guardianship.
At The Feller Group, P.C, we can assist you in creating comprehensive and legally sound documents. Doing so will give you the peace of mind knowing that, if the need were to ever arise, you will get the care you would have wanted – overseen by the people in your life you trust the most.
Last Will & Testament
A Last Will and Testament is the most basic estate planning document. The creator of the Will (Testator or Testatrix) directs where they want their estate assets to go and in what percentage. Since many assets have a beneficiary or joint account holder there may be fewer probate assets. A named Executor or Executrix will be in charge of gathering any estate assets, completing any Probate documents, and overseeing their filing with the Surrogate’s Court. Wills may have “testamentary trusts” built-in to cover instances where a minor or disabled person may inherit assets, as well as other more specialized circumstances.
While wills can serve as powerful estate planning tools, they are only effective if they are properly drafted to suit the needs of each individual. The team at The Feller Group, P.C. are available to go over Will drafting options, choosing an Executor, and the Probate Process.