It is not unusual for individuals to want others to understand how they would personally handle certain situations. However, there may come a time when parties are not able to effectively communicate their wishes. When it comes to personal care, not having instructions in place can seem frightening. Luckily, New York residents could utilize advance health care directives to detail their desires for care.
Few people want to think about -- let alone discuss -- the final days of a loved one's life. Yet, difficult as long-term care and end-of-life planning feels, it's an important topic that advisors urge families in New York to discuss, so that they can establish an advance health care directive. But what, exactly, is an advance health care directive and why is it so important?
Living wills. Advance health care directives. Medical powers of attorney. While these terms may sound familiar to aging residents of New York, it's likely that few are aware of everything these documents entail, and even fewer may have in place an advance health care directive. However, this legal document is powerful and important, and one that everyone, regardless of age, should consider.
For aging and elderly New York residents, there is a lot to think about when it comes to preparing for the future. Medicaid planning, asset protection and the like are a few of the issues that need to be addressed to make sure that family members and loved ones are cared for and not overburdened financially. But for the senior individuals themselves, one of the most important aspects may be that of establishing powers of attorney.
For aging residents of New York, preparing for the future doesn't always just mean planning for future generations. Beyond wills, trusts and beneficiaries, one oft-overlooked aspect of elder care planning is that of an advance health care directive. What, exactly, is this official document and why is it so important?
From Medicaid to living wills, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who claimed planning for end-of-life care in New York isn't important. However, admitting an issue is imperative and actually taking steps to address it are two separate things. Despite the fact that elder law attorneys and others in the United States have been promoting advance health care directives for almost half a century, a recent study reveals that only approximately 30 percent of adults have one.
Anyone can potentially benefit from a living will. However, having one is especially important for aging residents of New York City. A living will, which is a type of advance health care directive, communicates an individual's preferences regarding medical treatment in the event that he or she becomes incapable of expressing those wishes.
No caring New York family wants to entertain the thought of a time when their elderly loved ones may become unable to make communicate their wishes for the health care they wish to receive or, in some cases, forego. Additionally, few individuals wish to consider the fact that they may eventually be unable to make sound financial decisions for themselves. However, without planning for such eventualities, these important issues are often put off until it is already too late for the elderly individuals to make their desires known. Advance planning includes a variety of legal decisions, but some of the most important to both the individual and his or her family include an advance medical directive and powers of attorney.
Responsible aging New York residents may believe they have completed their estate planning when they have drawn up a will and designated how their assets will be distributed. In truth, however, this is only part of planning for the future. Just as important is creating a plan for health care decisions and financial security in the unfortunate but all-too-real possibility that aging will result in a deterioration of mind or body or the equally possible chance that unforeseen tragedy will strike. This essential documentation is referred to as a living will and powers of attorney.
Aging residents of New York may believe, like most people, that there will always be time to plan for the future. Many know that preparing advance health care directives is important, but taking time out of the present to deal with potentially unpleasant issues of the future is not an inviting prospect. However, there will likely come a time when, if certain eventualities have not been carefully planned out ahead of time, that medical decisions may be made on the person's behalf that run contrary to what the individual would have wanted.