From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Estate Planning Before Surgery
Most Recently Updated August 9, 2018.
“I am going to have some major surgery next month. Is it a good idea to do Estate Planning before surgery? What documents do you suggest I have done?”
Estate Planning Before Surgery
Estate Planning Before Surgery
Certainly, working on your Estate Planning documents can be stressful. But, putting your documents in order before surgery can not only relieve some stress, but a well thought out and planned Estate Planning before surgery could save your life. Medical emergencies happen all the time. It is vital to nominate the correct person to act for you in that emergency. Not everyone handles emergencies well. And, the law picks your medical spokesperson if you fail to nominate someone yourself. Wouldn’t you rather know who might make your life-or-death choice?
Medical Power of Attorney, A “Must” Estate Planning Before Surgery Step.
Everyone needs a medical advocate; a person to stand up for them when they are unable. This person is often called your Surrogate. During surgery, you will be unconscious. When unconscious, you are unable to make medical decisions. Further, if there are surgery complications or a newly discovered condition immediate action might be the best answer. As a consequence, if you are not able to authorize the procedure, it may require a problematic delay. Instead, you should have executed a Medical Power of Attorney authorizing someone to make this decision for you.
Certainly, your spouse or family are logical choices but are not a legal requirement. At times, a spouse or parent are not the best advocates. Some people do not hold up well under pressure or in the hospital. Therefore, you should select a Surrogate who is calm under pressure. Further, you want a person who will ask all necessary questions and, most importantly, will authorize action as you would have yourself. You are not looking for a Surrogate who will decide what they think is best. Instead, you are looking for a surrogate who will make the decision that you would have done given the facts and circumstances.
Check out my website for more information about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.
Durable General Power of Attorney.
After nominating your medical power of attorney, make sure you take care of your financial needs. The surgery might only take part of a day, but it is always possible that your recovery could extend much longer. If you are at the hospital, who will pay your bills or follow up on a dispute with your insurance company? You would be wise to select a competent person to manage these affairs. And, you do so by signing a Durable, General Power of Attorney.
In a Durable, General Power of Attorney, you appoint a person (or persons) to serve as your “Agent.” You can give your Agent power to handle any financial matter. You could also create a Special Power of Attorney, crafted to give your Agent only one power. For example, the single authority to oversee the sale of your house. “Durable” means that your Agent continues to have these powers even if you are incapacitated.
Armed with a well-drafted power of attorney, your Agent can address whatever problems may arise while you are unable to manage your affairs.
Check out my website for more information about Powers of Attorney.
More Planning Questions?
Estate Planning Before Surgery is only a piece of the Estate Planning process. By all means, if you want to learn more, please read my more detailed article, Estate Planning Everything You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: Estate Planning Before Surgery
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining Estate Planning Before Surgery. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website so you can learn more. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!
Let our Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced estate planning lawyers. By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!
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