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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

National Health Care Decisions Day in Sacramento

April 14, 2016

National Healthcare Decisions Day is on April 16th, and it’s an important reminder for every adult to begin having difficult conversations with loved ones about their most private wishes for medical and end-of-life care.

Far too many people assume that their families would make the choices they would want in an emergency. Yet every day we hear stories of adult children, siblings, or other relatives battling during a health care crisis over “what their loved one would have wanted” in that situation.

Discussing your health care wishes in advance is a great way to help avoid a legal mess should you become disabled or incapacitated. But your planning must not stop there. You must also clearly and legally document your preferences, as well as choose an “agent” whom you trust to make such decisions if you are unable to speak for yourself.

In honor of National Health Care Decisions Day, it’s a wise idea to set aside time this month to begin the difficult conversations with loved ones about your personal preferences for medical or long-term care, if you haven’t already. Here are some important questions to consider:

  • Whom do you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf?
  • How do you feel about feeding tubes, life support, and other artificial life saving devices?
  • Is there any type of medical care you would NEVER want?
  • If you were permanently disabled or incapacitated, what things would contribute or take away from your “quality of life”?
  • What are your thoughts on nursing home vs. in-home healthcare?
  • How would you like your family to pay for the care you may need if co-pays become excessive or insurance does not cover your treatment?

One key point to consider when documenting your wishes and choosing the healthcare agent that will ultimately carry them out is that the person you choose should want to have this responsibility. There are people who do not want, or cannot handle, making medical decisions even for their own spouse. So take the time to have an additional conversation with whomever you are considering to make sure that they can, and will be willing and able, to make the decisions that you would want them to make.

If you are ready to begin the process of documenting your healthcare wishes in honor of National Health Care Decision Day, we invite you to contact our office at (916) 241-9661 to schedule a complimentary consultation. (Normally $750)

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My wife and I have some quite large complexities both in our individual preferences and the construct of our life. When planning for our trust, Heather took the time to hear EVERYTHING we said. The trust which Heather formed for our family took all our concerns into account. When everything was said and done, we received a trust which, by design, is extremely personal to our circumstance. We also are delighted to have Heather to be part of our team of advocates to help when the time comes.

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