If you are over 18, choosing a health care agent is one of the most important things you can to do to make sure someone has permission to act on your behalf in a medical emergency. See your East Cobb Living Will Lawyer to help you with this most important task.
If you’re not familiar with the role of a health care agent, this is essentially the person who will carry out your wishes regarding things like life-support, resuscitation and feeding tubes if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. Your health care agent will also handle the day-to-day decision making regarding your medical care including (but not limited to):
- Medication administration
- Blood and blood products
- Diagnostic tests
- Long-term care (i.e. nursing home assistance, home health care)
- Hiring and firing medical personal
- Determining who can (and cannot) visit you during your hospital stay
- Getting court authorization to obtain or withhold treatment if your wishes are not honored by a doctor or other healthcare professionals
While choosing a health care agent may seem like an easy task, the process is actually much harder and complex when you start working to narrow down candidates.
Remember, your health care agent could be called on to make some of the most difficult and heart-wrenching decisions they’ve ever faced. The job could also turn out to be time-consuming and demanding if you are seriously hurt and require decisions to be made on a round-the-clock basis.
Not to mention, situations such as these can get very emotional. Your health care agent may be called on to carry out requests you’ve made, but they don’t personally agree with. They may also feel pressured by family members to make decisions contrary… …to what they know you would want under the circumstances.
For these reasons, it’s very important that you take your time in choosing a health care agent so you wind up with someone truly qualified for the job. If you’re feeling stuck and still not sure who to pick, here are the top three qualifications I, as an East Cobb Living Will Lawyer, ask my clients to consider when narrowing down their options:
Location– In a true medical emergency, your health care agent may be called upon to make round-the-clock decisions until you are stable. If that occurs, you’ll want someone who lives close enough to meet with doctors and visit the hospital whenever necessary. For this same reason, you might also want to exclude someone who travels on business a lot or has such a demanding schedule that it would forbid them from attending to your care.
Medical Knowledge- While your health care agent certainly doesn’t have to be an expert in medicine, you do want to choose someone who is capable of understanding your medical condition and the choices presented to him or her by the doctors overseeing your care. That may also require you to weed out candidates who are overly squeamish or emotional about medical subjects to ensure the best decisions are made on your behalf.
Loyalty- The person you choose as health care agent should feel a sense of loyalty to you and your wishes to ensure your preferences are fully carried out in the face of emotional stress, personal disagreement or pressure from other family members to make decisions contrary to those you have specified.
As a final thought, you’ll also want to choose someone whom you feel totally comfortable sharing your medical preferences with. Your healthcare directive can only cover so many situations that could arise; therefore, it’s critical you give your agent as much direction as possible in case they are presented with a decision not addressed in your legal documents.
Once you decide on an agent, you’ll need to legally document your choice! Call our East Cobb Living Will Lawyer’s office at 770-425-6060 to start the process of creating a plan that protects your wishes in a medical emergency.
Will and trust lawyers in the Atlanta, Georgia, area recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate plans. Every situation is different, and each person needs individualized attention. While there are services that offer cookie-cutter forms that will supposedly allow you to set up a decent plan, there is no comparison to working with an actual estate planning attorney who can work with human understanding to meet your real needs.
For example, the needs of women have been changing dramatically over the past several years. Gone are the days when a woman was expected to stay home and live on an “allowance” if her husband chose to give her one. Instead, so many women today have their own jobs, their own finances, and their own desire to protect their assets.
Older Women and Widows
In addition, women typically live longer than men. So, even if the husband was originally in charge of working with the will and trust lawyer, once he has passed away, the widow has an entirely new set of needs. She needs to make sure that her estate is able to support her as costs continue to rise, as well as to determine what she would like to have happen to her assets after her own death.
Not all estate planning lawyers in the Atlanta GA area are current with the times, either. There is still a tendency to create trusts that will “take care of them” without them actually having any say over the contents of the trust. Today’s women are often quite capable of managing their own finances and are better served by having flexibility to grow their funds rather than being restricted by the trust.
There are plenty of reasons that a younger woman should to meet with an Atlanta will and trust lawyer, too. In the case of a single mother, assigning a guardian is critical in case of the mother’s death or incapacitation. If a guardian is not legally named, the courts will step in and choose a guardian for the child without taking the mother’s wishes into consideration. An estate planning attorney may also advise younger mothers to consider setting up a trust for their child(ren) and maybe even to look into life insurance policies that could be used to fund the child(ren)’s future.
Whether married or not, many younger women have careers and would benefit from retirement planning in this earlier stage of life. By being proactive early on, a woman can set up her 401k and other accounts to make sure she realizes her long-term financial goals. Looking to retire young, to pay for your kids’ college, or to travel the world? A will and trust lawyer in metro Atlanta can help put things in motion now to make that a reality later.
If you have a significant other in your life, it makes sense for the two of you to work together with your Atlanta estate planning attorney to make sure that your goals align and that your plans are compatible. Your attorney can help you properly deal with “his, hers and ours” to ensure that your assets are titled properly and that your financial house together is built on a solid foundation.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Here in Atlanta, living will attorneys know full-well the ramifications of not planning ahead for an unexpected disability. Even those clients who understand the importance of estate planning tend to overlook what would happen if they should become unable to care for themselves. It’s not the happiest thought, but the reality of not having a living will can make the situation considerably worse for both you and your family.
A major disability can be devastating to an entire family, both emotionally and financially. Pre-planning for the possibility can reduce some of the heartaches that often accompany these situations.
You may assume that your spouse would simply make decisions for you if and when a major problem takes place. Ask yourself, if he or she really wants to be responsible for some of those decisions. For example, if you were in a coma, how would your spouse react to making the choice of whether or not to stop life support? Even if your loved ones know your wishes, simply having them in a formal document can remove a considerable burden and amount of potential guilt.
A living will attorney can help you to draw up these documents so that your family does not have to make these choices. The attorney can also assist by offering insight into situations you likely wouldn’t have considered. Are you opposed to a blood transfusion? Are you adamantly against ending life support? What needs to happen if you become mentally disabled? Who should be given power of attorney over your other health-related issues?
Having a major illness or injury is very expensive and can keep you from working during and after hospitalization. Your Atlanta living will attorney will also advise you on what needs to happen financially if you are unable to take care of your own needs. For example, you will likely set up a power of attorney, as well as to determine how long-term care will be paid for. Will you need to sell your house? Will you be eligible for disability insurance? These are all questions that the living will attorney will go over with you.
There are plenty of other considerations that need to be addressed by an Atlanta Georgia living will attorney. From what will happen to your children to where you might end up in nursing care, there are choices that need to be made. Planning in advance with your attorney in Atlanta will ensure that your wishes are being followed if the time should come.
If you are ready to get started in creating a plan that will protect you and your family should incapacity or disability occur, give our office a call at 770-425-6060 and ask to schedule a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session. These sessions are normally $750, but you can come in free with the mention of this article. However, these sessions are limited to 10 per month so call today!