Life-changing events like illness or injury can catch anyone by surprise. Under these circumstances, it can be challenging to think clearly and stay on top of things. By preparing for the unexpected, advance directives can prevent these events from derailing the lives of a person’s loved ones.
Under the guidance of an estate planning lawyer, advance directives can ensure that a person’s wishes and healthcare needs are met in the event of life-threatening injuries or incapacitation. Along with fulfilling one’s wishes, advance planning will help guide a person’s family and friends through a difficult time.
However, when it comes to these uncomfortable subjects, many people in the Riverhead area don’t know where or how to start. An estate planning law firm can assist with this process by helping formulate a comprehensive plan to address future needs.
What Does an Advance Directive Do?
Advance directives are documents that allow a person to dictate what will occur should they become unable to make decisions independently. These documents allow individuals to secure their wishes and finances in advance by providing a concrete plan for their medical treatment and other guidance for those around them.
Advance directives also allow a person to designate the individual they want to oversee the fulfillment of their wishes. From distributing wealth to managing real estate, the individual they choose will be responsible for honoring their wishes. Among these responsibilities can be the authority to withhold or terminate life-sustaining treatment.
Because of the legal ramifications involved, many people seek out the assistance of an estate planning lawyer to help guide them through the process and devise a long-term plan. An estate planning attorney can also ensure that an advance directive uses the correct language to cover specific needs and concerns.
What to Include in an Advance Directive
Creating a thorough advance directive can go a long way to ensuring one’s needs and wishes are met.
- Treatment Preferences: An advance directive, such as a living will, allows a person to state their medical preferences should they lose the ability to speak or communicate. Treatment options can vary between states, so it’s essential to speak with a New York estate planning lawyer to find out what’s available to residents of Riverhead, North Fork, South Fork, and the surrounding area.
- Healthcare Agent/Proxy Contact Information: A healthcare proxy makes medical decisions on one’s behalf. This information helps ensure one’s treatment and care needs are met by the representative they choose to oversee their wellbeing. Picking the right person can be complicated, and an estate planning attorney can go over the options.
- Power of Attorney: A power of attorney is a powerful document that gives one or more persons the power to act on your behalf. This document gives a trusted individual the authority to manage financial matters including buying and selling real estate, accessing bank accounts and even executing contracts on their behalf.
- Witness Signatures: Due to the serious nature of the document and the decisions involved, witnesses must certify the terms of an advance directive. The State of New York requires two witnesses to be present. Since neither the subject of the advance directive nor their proxy count as witnesses, it can be helpful to have an estate planning attorney make arrangements.
Different states have different requirements for advance directives. By searching online for an “estate planning lawyer near me,” Riverhead residents can learn more about the necessary steps and requirements for New York.
Meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney to Finalize Your Advance Directive
With sensitive subjects like end-of-life care, it can be hard to know where to start. Even if a person knows what they want to include in their advance directive or living will, they may not know how to translate their wishes into practical instructions. Finding the right words can be difficult, but an estate planning lawyer can help ensure the advance directive is clear and legally sound.
The laws governing advance directives can be complex, and may restrict or prevent the fulfillment of one’s wishes in an advance directive. Estate planning attorneys can help clients outline their desires in accordance with state laws. At Sheryll Law, P.C., we use the following process to help our clients create advance directives:
- We begin with a strategy session to discuss the client’s desires and needs.
- We provide all necessary documents and assist with securing witnesses.
- We help clients revisit their advance directives and make changes as needed – for example, if they receive a medical diagnosis that affects their end-of-life wishes or if their marital status changes.
Sheryll Law, P.C.: Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorneys Experienced in Preparing Advance Directives
A staple of the community in Riverhead, New York, Sheryll Law, P.C., has years of experience assisting New Yorkers through the advance directive process. Schedule a consultation with one of our estate planning lawyers today by calling (631) 506-8440 or completing our online form.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.