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The importance of drafting end-of-life directives

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2023 | Elder Law, Estate Planning

As they age, many Pennsylvania residents prefer to remain in their homes because they are more comfortable in familiar surroundings. While such situations may make elders happier, staying in one’s home can pose potential problems as health declines. If you think this situation describes you or your parents, you should make sure that you draft the essential documents for aging in place.

Planning ahead is essential

While many people know the importance of having a last will and testament, placing their money in trusts, and other estate planning tasks, they sometimes overlook further details. Several aspects of elder law become even more important as one gets older. Having a durable power of attorney for financial matters and another one for health care matters in case one becomes incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions are also common. However, some people skip advance directives, thinking they won’t need them or are too young.

The older you become, the more likely a sudden illness will happen. Consider drafting a living will which can detail the following end-of-life care directives:

  • CPR and don-not-resuscitate orders
  • Feeding tubes
  • Dialysis
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Antibiotics and antiviral medications
  • Palliative care
  • Organ and tissue donations

Do-not-resuscitate and do-not-intubate orders can become part of your medical records, but all other directives must be made in writing to be valid.

Why these directives are important

The scope of estate planning includes various issues that can affect end-of-life care. Many individuals do not like the idea of machines keeping them alive artificially if no nope for recovery exists. If you suddenly become incapacitated and unable to communicate, your family will know your wishes and can act accordingly. Not having a living will in place leaves your loved ones guessing and puts greater stress on an already difficult situation.

Have a living will discussion with your family while you are still healthy and aware. Make sure that a family member has a copy of the directives so that multiple people can fulfill your wishes when the time comes.

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