If you have gone to the gym this week, chances are it was busier than at any other point in the year. It’s the same every January, as the start to the new year comes with a rush of neighbors committed to starting things off right. Losing weight and getting in shape are just one of an endless list of resolutions that residents throughout San Diego make each and every year.
If you have yet to finalize your goals for 2013–and are looking for something a bit outside the box–then consider putting your long-term plans into place. In reality, conduct estate planning, letting family know your medical wishes, and preparing for possible long-term care are not only critical goals for yourself but also your loved ones. There are few things harder than grappling with uncertain legal and ethical concerns in the aftermath of a family member’s sudden illness or death. One of the greatest gifts one can give is taking the matter out of their hands and making decisions as straightforward as possible.
Along the same lines, an editorial from the LA Times recently tried to convince community members to make 2013 the year they finally took care of this often overlooked task. In particular, the editorial refers to the need to have advance directives so that family members are not put in the awful bind of making end-of-life decisions without a clear understanding of their loved one’s wishes.
What is an Advanced Directive?
Also referred to as a “health care directive,” these are instructions to others–often family members managing one’s affairs–on what to do in case of your incapacity. This might mean after a car accident, sudden stroke, heart attack, or serious Alzheimers complication. The instructions include things like deciding what life support measures to use, determining the extent of surgical procedures in certain settings, and even deciding upon organ donation. It is critical not to take short-cuts with these instructions, however. In some cases special forms need to be signed and witnesses need to be present so that they meet legal standards. Failing to handle the planning properly may mean that the advanced directives do not work as intended at the moment they are needed most.
In most cases an advanced directive is one part of a larger estate planning package. For example, when you visit the estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Scott C. Soady, we include advance directive as part of your revocable living trust package. On top of ensuring inheritance details are worked out and tax savings are considered, these instructions are included in the plan to give peace of mind that your wishes will be handled clearly without controversy no matter what the future holds.
Please consider making 2013 the year you finally ensure everything is in place for your family in the long-term. This planning does not need to be cost prohibitive or time consuming. A legal professional can explain how the details can be taken care of quickly and efficiently. You just need to take the time to contact us today.