Legal Planning for Aging and End-of-Life Decisions and Health
Making legal arrangements for aging and end-of-life decisions can be a difficult and emotional process. It’s important to understand how to make sure your wishes are heard and respected, and that you are protecting yourself, your loved ones and your finances.
Designation of Healthcare Surrogate
If you become unable to make decisions about your medical care, you will want to designate someone else – a healthcare surrogate – to make decisions on your behalf. You must be of sound mind to designate your healthcare surrogate, who you should designate should be people you completely trust and know well.
Creating a Living Will can also be important during late stages of your life. A living will is a document that provides instructions for your healthcare surrogate regarding your wishes for life-sustaining treatment. It is important to note that a living will cannot address or make decisions about end-of-life care such as organ/tissue donations, cremation or burial.
Power of Attorney and Guardianship
Power of Attorney is a document that authorises someone, who you designate, to act in your place to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. Financial decisions may include managing financial accounts, making investments, paying bills, and more.
Guardianship is when a court appoints someone to take charge of a person in the event that the person is incapacitated, due to age and/or physical illness. Guardianship arrangements can include decisions on end-of-life procedures such as end-of-life care, burial, cremation, etc.
Making a Will
It is highly recommended that you prepare a will and estate plan in the event of your death. A will allows you to specify how your assets should be distributed, name an executor or someone to manage your estate, and to name guardians for your children under the age of 18.
Making legal arrangements for aging and end-of-life decisions and health can be difficult, but it is important that you plan ahead and make sure that your wishes are known and will be respected. It’s important to seek professional legal help if necessary, and to make sure that you’re fully aware and comfortable with any decisions you make.