Living Wills

In addition to wills and trusts prepared for a smart estate plan, most clients consider with us whether to prepare and execute powers of attorney to plan for managing their financial affairs and health care needs during their lifetimes as well.  Health care planning involves preparing a New Hampshire Advance Directive, which includes both a Health Care Power of Attorney section and a Living Will.

The health care “power of attorney” is the right you give by law to someone else to do something for you that you otherwise would be the only person allowed to do. Your “attorney-in-fact” or “agent” as they are sometimes called then can do these things within the written scope of the authority that you give them.

Two commonly prepared powers of attorney are for financial matters and for health care. A financial power of attorney can authorize someone for you to open accounts, cash checks, sign contracts or sell real estate, prepare taxes, and so on. It should only be given to someone you trust, most often a spouse or reliable child or sibling. The financial agent is required to act as your fiduciary for your behalf with your assets.

A Power of Attorney for Health Care, allows someone to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so for yourself either permanently or for a limited period of time. The health care power allows your agent to make elective decisions for you, including if you so direct, end of life decisions to end or not start extraordinary life sustaining treatments in consultation with your doctors if you will remain permanently unconscious. The Living Will declares your intentions to withhold life sustaining treatment if you become incurably ill or permanently unconscious.

The new law clarifies the meaning of a “Do Not Resucitate (DNR) Order”and enables the agent to apply a DNR Order to a patient’s medical chart that previously the agent under the old law could not necessarily do. If you want to execute a health care power, or make your health care power as broad now as the law currently allows, contact us.

“Powers of attorney give you, not the probate court, the say as to what will and will not be done for you and who’ll make that choice.”

 

The cost of a New Hampshire Advance Directive for healthcare is low considering the expenses and difficulties they can avoid down the road. Waiting until you are incapacitated is too late, because at that point the law considers that you are incapable of making those choices for yourself. At that point, only a probate court can then declare you incompetent and appoint someone to make health care decisions for you. By making these elections now while you are competent, you choose the people to make the decisions for you, and you choose what kind of decisions you do or do not want made for you. In an incompetency proceeding, the court has to make those decisions for you, with expensive presentations of doctors, friends, and relatives to establish what it is that you would have wanted. To borrow a phrase from the horror movies, “It’s not a pretty picture!!!”

To start preparations of your advance directives, begin by preparing our Estate Planning Questionnaire. When you contact us about your estate plan, we will discuss with you any questions about these powers of attorney you may have so you can decide if they are right for you.