You should consider all of the contingencies that you may face as an elder when you are planning your estate. The transfer of financial assets is of course important, but it is not the only matter that should be addressed. Perhaps not even the most important.
It is not uncommon for elders to become incapacitated. At a point in time, people sometimes become unable to make their own health care decisions in real-time. This can be permanent, and it could be temporary.
To prepare for this possibility you can execute a legal instrument called a health care proxy. This is the person you designate in a health care power of attorney and living will (sometimes called an advance health care directive). You select an agent who would be empowered to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate your own choices.
There are certain qualities to look for in a potential proxy. You want the person to be strong-willed enough to make difficult decisions.
Different family members may have different ideas about these decisions. Ultimately the final say will be in the hands of the representative that you choose, so this individual must be strong and decisive.
Being strong enough to make decisions is important, but you want to select someone who is willing to make the same decisions that you would make if you could communicate them. If you explain your perspective to your proxy in advance of any incapacitation he or she will be familiar with your thought processes.
Another thing to consider is the geographic location of the person that you choose. If you live in Oklahoma City, you would probably want to steer clear of a candidate who lives in a distance state or in another country.
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Parman & Easterday
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