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The importance of advance directives in your estate plan

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2021 | Firm News |

A New Jersey estate plan typically includes a will and trusts. A will names beneficiaries and lists the assets you bequeath to them, while a trust provides for your family long after you pass away. However, you can include your decisions regarding palliative care if you become incapacitated

According to the State of New Jersey Department of Health, advance directives can ensure that your family understands your wishes regarding medical treatment and quality-of-life wishes if you become incapacitated.

Living will

This legal document details your personal choices about your end-of-life care. It can address a variety of preferences, such as the following:

  • Dialysis
  • Donating your body for research
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Aggressive or experimental treatment
  • Resuscitation
  • Comfort care

When making your decisions, consider the importance you place on remaining self-sufficient. You should review your living will and make changes accordingly at each new decade of life and after divorce, death of a family member, a decline in health or a new diagnosis.

Durable power of attorney for health care

A living will is one of many documents containing advance directives. A durable power attorney, also called proxy directive, appoints a representative who can make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot. The proxy or agent is typically a spouse, child or sibling. However, it can be anyone you trust to follow your wishes. The document can outline the types of decisions your proxy can make. Discuss your wishes with your representative and make sure they understand what you want and why.

Advance directives are a critical part of a comprehensive estate plan. It makes the decisions your loved ones must make regarding your end-of-life care easier on them. You can also add documents that name appoint a financial power of attorney, create irrevocable trusts and minimize the amount of taxes your family pays by tax planning appropriately.