When we think of estate planning, especially when it comes to advance directives that dictate what end-of-life care we want and who we want to make health care decisions on our behalf, we may think that we will only need to consider it when we are elderly.
However, a debilitating health condition can strike a person in Maryland at any age, making it important to execute a durable power of attorney for health care and a living will while you are still competent to do so.
What is a living will?
A living will is a written document that outlines what medical care you want if you become incapacitated and can no longer make your wishes known. A living will can address whether you want CPR if you are dying, whether you want to be placed on a ventilator if you cannot breath or whether you want to receive artificial feeding through a tube or artificial hydration intravenously.
What is a durable power of attorney for health care?
A durable power of attorney for health care is a legal document that dictates who you want to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This person is known as a health care proxy or representative. This person should understand what your values and wishes are, so they can make decisions that you would agree to if you could.
Incapacitation can strike at any age
Incapacitation is not limited to those who develop diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia. A person could be seriously injured in a car crash or contract a serious illness, and wind up in a coma. When this happens, it can be a great relief to your loved one if you have a comprehensive estate plan that includes a living will and durable power of attorney for health care. Estate planning attorneys in Maryland understand these issues and may be a good source of information.