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End-of-life estate planning documents are vitally important

Our readers probably know how important we think it is to have a comprehensive estate plan completed. A major part of having this completed is having a living will and other documents that outline what you wish to happen at the end of your life. For our Texas readers, learning some specifics of a health care power of attorney and living will might help them to make informed decisions about completing that document.

A power of attorney for health care is a document that gives someone the power to make decisions regarding your medical care when you are unable to do so on your own. This person has to be someone you trust with your life. It should also be someone who knows your wishes and is comfortable asserting your rights.

An interesting point about the health care power of attorney is that you can decide how much power to give the person. If you only want someone to make certain decisions, you can specify that. If you don't specify the scope of power, the person can usually make decisions about every aspect of your health care.

A living will is another important document for a comprehensive estate plan. In this document, you outline exactly what forms of life-saving or life-sustaining treatments you are willing to receive and which you want to decline. Making your wishes known as specifically as possible can help your loved ones when the time comes.

Your living will can include your desires regarding resuscitation, life-prolonging nutrition, life-prolonging procedures like dialysis or blood transfusions and palliative care options. Filing a copy of these documents with your local hospital might help to ensure they are followed.

This is only one small facet of a comprehensive estate plan. Learning what other documents you need might help you to ensure you have an estate plan that makes your wishes known and gives the legal documentation necessary to follow them.

Source: FindLaw, "Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Living Wills" Nov. 02, 2014

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