People have no problem planning ahead for many things, but for some reason estate planning and elder law issues are often placed on the back burner. Surveys consistently come back with results that are quite disturbing with regard to the estate planning preparedness of American adults.
They say that death and taxes are the only certainties, but in spite of this the majority of people in the United States have not executed all the appropriate estate planning documents.
A recent relevant survey found that 61% of the people that responded stated that they did not have a living will in place.
A living will does not have anything to do with transferring financial assets. A living will is an advance health care directive. Living wills are used to record your wishes regarding life-sustaining medical procedures.
For example, if you were incapacitated and in a terminal condition being kept alive via the utilization a feeding tube, would you want the tube to remain in place indefinitely or would you prefer that it be removed? This is the type of situation that is addressed in a living will.
Another advance directive that is recommended is the health care proxy or durable power of attorney for health care. Even if you have a living will circumstances can arise that were not directly addressed in that directive. With the health care proxy you empower someone to make medical decisions in your behalf if you become unable to make them for yourself.
If you are among this 61% you may want to speak with a licensed estate planning attorney about executing a living will sooner rather than later.
Parman & Easterday