Save Time by Creating Advance Directives when Estate Planning

New York residents who are considering estate planning may want to look into creating advance directives. These documents allow people to choose a power of attorney or health care representative in the event of incapacitation or death, as well as provide instructions on handling various health care situations and decisions. This document can play an important role in comprehensive estate planning.

Advance directives are tools that help people decide who will make health care decisions for them when they are no longer capable of doing so. Some medical conditions and injuries can render a person unable to communicate his or her wishes regarding treatment. Not everyone wants the same type of medical treatment. Some may want to live as long as possible, while others want the right to refuse treatment if they are left in a vegetative state.

Ideally, an advance directive will be created before one is in an emergency situation in which there is no time to create one. When the person is in the right state of mind, he or she should look at real-life medical scenarios and determine what he or she would want done in each situation. It is important to involve loved ones and a chosen power of attorney in the discussion to help avoid family disputes over how to move forward.

An advance directive should be as thorough as possible. It can include an alternate power of attorney in case the person chosen cannot or will not execute the ill person's wishes. It can also include what treatments, if any, the person is willing to submit to. If the person wants a "Do not resuscitate" order, the advance directive should clearly state this. The document should also include the person's stance on organ donation, should that become a possibility.

Source: Ravalli Republic, "Advance directives provide peace of mind for patients and families," Kim Miller, Nov. 13, 2012

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