Estate Planning Services
If you care about who inherits your assets, your future healthcare should you become incapacitated, the future of your minor children, or avoiding probate court, then you should have an estate plan. Johnson & Wilson Law SC can establish the right plan for you. Call for a consultation today.
Wills and Trusts
Don't leave your hard earned possessions to be distributed and taxed by the government! There is a estate plan just right for you. We offer wills and trusts that will meet your needs. Call us to set up an appointment to discuss your options!
It's smart to make documents setting forth your wishes for health care in case you are ever unable to speak for yourself.
If you're like most people, you don't want to think about what would happen if you became unable to direct your own medical care because of illness, an accident, or advanced age. However, if you don't do at least a little bit of planning -- writing down your wishes about the kinds of treatment you do or don't want to receive and naming someone you trust to oversee your care -- these important matters could wind up in the hands of untrusted or estranged family members, doctors, or even judges, who may have no clue what you would prefer.
Types of Health Care Documents
There are two basic documents that allow you to set out your wishes for medical care: a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. It's always wise to prepare both.
First, you need a written statement that details the type of care you want, or don't want, if you become incapacitated. This document is generally called a living will. A living will is not the same as last will or living trust used to leave property at death; it's strictly a place declare your health care preferences.
What is in your living will is up to you, we will just guide you along the way.
Powers of Attorney for Health Care
You'll also want what's called a durable power of attorney for health care. In this document, you appoint someone you trust to be your health care agentto make any necessary health care decisions for you and to see that doctors and other health care providers give you the type of care you wish to receive.
Who Can Make Health Care Documents
You must legally be an adult (18 years old) of sound mind to make a valid document directing your health care.
When Your Health Care Documents Take Effect
Your health care documents take effect if your doctor determines that you lack the ability -- often called the "capacity" -- to make your own health care decisions. Lacking capacity usually means that:
you can't understand the nature and consequences of the health care choices that are available to you, and
you are unable to communicate your own wishes for care, either orally, in writing, or through gestures.
Making your document effective immediately will not give your agent the authority to override what you want in terms of treatment; you will always be able to dictate your own medical care if you have the ability to do so. And even when you are no longer capable of making your own decisions, your health care agent must always act in your best interests and diligently try to follow any health care wishes you've expressed in your health care declaration or otherwise.
When Your Health Care Documents End
Your written wishes for health care remain effective as long as you are alive, unless you specifically revoke your documents or a court steps in. Here are a few specifics about when your health care documents are no longer effective:
You revoke your document.
A court invalidates your document.
If someone doubts that you had the mental capacity to prepare a legally valid health care document, that person can ask a court to invalidate your document. Such lawsuits are rare, but they do sometimes occur. The burden of proving that you were not of sound mind when you made your document falls on the person who challenges its validity.
A court revokes your agent's authority.
You get a divorce.
After your death.