No matter what we do, we will all get old one day. Older people tend to need more skilled medical care, which can be expensive. Planning ahead for long-term care is often an important part of estate planning.
Washington residents who have certain wishes when it comes to their health care should they become incapacitated should take the necessary steps to put them in writing in a legal way. Simply saying beforehand what the desires are is not sufficient. So too is it insufficient to take unusual steps, such as having the limits to medical care tattooed on one's body.
It is a terrifying prospect to consider for a Kent resident. One day they are living their life, enjoying the many people and activities that bring happiness into their existence, and the next they are alive but unable to communicate or respond to those who address them. This is a reality for an unfortunate number of individuals who suffer life-altering accidents and injuries and who suddenly become dependent on the care and decision-making power of others to survive. It is also a reality for older Washingtonians who through illness and time gradually lose the capacity to make sound decisions about their care.
Estate planning is an important process for Kent area residents. It is also about more than protecting a family's assets. Healthcare directives are important in making sure a person's health care wishes are followed when they are not able to communicate. But there are mistakes that can be made when creating healthcare directives.
Washington law provides a mechanism for helping to assure that one's end-of-life wishes are followed. The state's Death with Dignity Act allows adults with terminal illnesses, with less than six months left to live, to ask their doctor to provide them with medication that they will self-administer to end their life.
The end of life and how people die has changed greatly. Because of medical advances, many people in Washington seek the guidance of doctors who can treat the injury or illness the person is suffering from, leading to a longer lifespan. This has made planning for the future and end-of life-issues more complicated and important to deal with.
Individuals may face the day that they must rely on others to make medical decisions for them when they no longer have this ability. Washington has several legal requirements governing health care directives or durable powers of attorney for health care. These advance directives are the best option for assuring that the medical treatment one receives reflects their wishes when that person is unable to express them.
Previously, this estate planning blog discussed several important documents that all Washington residents should have in place in order to protect their long term care interests. From living wills to powers of attorney, there can be a lot of forms a person should create in order to protect his or her long-term health needs. While some individuals may be comfortable letting others make these decisions for them in the event they cannot do so on their own, others may prefer to proactively put into words their wishes so that they may be consulted in the event that they are not capable of speaking for themselves.
When many Kent area residents think about estate planning, they often think it's about creating wills. While wills are important and major documents, there are many other health care directives that are included in an estate plan. We have highlighted a few medical condition documents in the following paragraphs.