Kentucky Healthcare Directives, Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills

While we all know that we should have a will or trust to govern the distribution of our assets upon death, all too often the possibilities of incapacitation or end-of-life healthcare decisions are not taken into account. I help clients protect their interests for healthcare and management of their financial affairs should they become incapacitated, and prepare living wills that provide instruction concerning what medical treatment should be provided if they are facing death.

Healthcare Directives, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills Are Only Operative if You are Unable to Communicate Your Wishes

It’s important to understand that unless otherwise provided in the applicable documents, the provisions of these documents do not become effective unless you are incapacitated and cannot communicate your wishes. As a result, even if you are severely injured and require months of hospitalization, so long as you are able to competently communicate your wishes, the provisions of these documents will not become effective. They also will not become effective if you are only temporarily incapacitated, such as during surgery.

Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney

Healthcare directives and powers of attorney can be used to direct your care and to empower one or more people whom you trust to make decisions about your healthcare, welfare, and financial decisions if you become incapacitated and cannot communicate your wishes.

Should incapacitation occur, those whom you name immediately become vested with the powers and authority that you have authorized in such documents without any court order. If such documents have not been executed, your loved ones may be required to seek what is known as guardianship (authority to make decisions about your welfare and healthcare) or conservatorship (authority to act on your behalf with respect to your financial affairs).

Both guardianship and conservatorship require a court order, and those named as guardians and conservators are subject to reporting to and oversight by the courts. Court-ordered guardianship and conservatorship is not only costly in terms of legal fees, but can lead to additional issues if, for instance, more than one child seeks to become a guardian for a parent. Through healthcare directives and powers of attorney, these issues and court oversight can usually be avoided.

Kentucky Living Wills

Living wills direct the care that should be given to you if you are facing a terminal illness and cannot express your wishes concerning medical care. Options can range from all care that would be helpful to extend your life to limited care (such as basic nutrition and medicine to ease pain). Living wills can also be used to specify whether life-prolonging machinery and treatment should be continued in certain circumstances.

Please Call Me to Find out How I Can Help You Protect Your Interests

In most instances the documents to protect you in the event of incapacitation can be prepared quickly and for low cost. I meet with clients to understand their circumstances and to learn about their wishes and desires for healthcare and related matters. Once these wishes are known, I will prepare the appropriate legal documents and instruments for you.