by Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho
An absolute guarantee. You and I are going to die. There is a beginning and there is an end. Each of us will die one day. Thankfully none of us know the exact date.
There are many “End-of-Life Choices” individuals make as they approach the end of their lives that are uniquely personal to each and include health care, legal matters and personal preferences. The following list highlights some issues to consider.
- Do nothing: That’s the easiest choice. Unfortunately, since death is going to happen, doing nothing makes it difficult to those who will have to act on your behalf when you are unable to communicate your wishes due to illness or death. They won’t know your wishes.
- Health Documents: These legal documents have two parts. One is a “Living Will” which sets the standards for care when you are “knocking at heaven’s gate”. It goes into effect when someone has an incurable injury, disease, illness or condition that is terminal and death is imminent. If there is no “Living Will”, the medical people have no guidance and may take steps that are not wanted. The second document is a “Health Power of Attorney” where individuals are nominated and given the power to make health decisions for you when you are unable to communicate your wishes.
- Assisted Suicide: Assisted suicide is legally available in at least 12 of the States in this country. If that is a choice you want, it is important to express that in writing.
- Hospice Care: This care is provided as a benefit of Medicaid. If a doctor certifies that an individual has less than 6 months to live, that person is provided pain management, comfort and medical and other support during the last days and months at home or another setting.
- Organ Donation: You can choose to become an organ donor after your death to potentially save lives of others.
- Your Remains: Do you want burial, cremation, a memorial or funeral service? Have you written an obituary? Taking care of these details when it is not a crisis is simpler and can save extra heartache and expenses for those trying to help.
- Financial and Legal Arrangements: Ensuring your financial and legal affairs are in order will include who will handle the details and how are assets to be distributed.
This list highlights some of the issues to be addressed. Why go to the trouble to legally communicate what you want? You will have peace of mind knowing your wishes will be followed and make it easier for others to help you, and eliminate some of the burdens and uncertainties that can arise during difficult times.
Do you have a written estate plan that protects your future and your loved ones? Call to schedule a meeting with Susan Graham to give you peace of mind that your affairs are in order (phone 208-344-0375 or Contact Us on our website).
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