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Though many people find it difficult to discuss death and end of life issues, proper planning now can help avoid painful decisions and situations in the future. A “Last Will and Testament” is an instrument that provides, among other things, burial instructions, appointment of guardians for minor children, creation of trusts for children, tax planning strategies, and ultimately how assets are distributed upon death. Without this document, the state determines who gets your real and personal property, and this may not be in line with your desires or specific family needs. Having a will also removes uncertainty and possible conflict for your family and friends by clearly laying out your wishes in advance.
ADVANCED DIRECTIVES/LIVING WILLS
An Advanced Directive (also known as a “Living Will”) declares your wishes regarding the use of life-sustaining treatment in the event you become incapacitated. This may occur because of a terminal illness, coma, or other serious medical situation where you are unable to communicate your wishes. By defining your intentions and desires ahead of time, you are assured that your wishes are honored while protecting your rights. It is also invaluable in helping your friends and family understand your wishes, and in that way, provides them with comfort and security during these very trying times.
You may also designate a Health Care Proxy to make any necessary medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. This Proxy will make decisions regarding unforeseen situations that are not expressly addressed by the incapacitated person elsewhere in the document. If you decide to appoint such a person, it is vitally important that you discuss your wishes with them in advance so they can properly act on your behalf if need be.
While no one wants to dwell on issues of terminal illness or injury, it is vitally important that these issues be addressed in advance, lest we lose control of our own quality of life and dignity. Our will lawyers in Pell City are sensitive to the issues involved and are prepared to help you navigate this process.