Portfolio Points To Remember
1. Both a living will and a health care proxy are advance directives, allowing you to put in writing how you want medical decisions made when you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. However, a health care proxy has the added advantage of permitting you to designate someone to make medical decisions for you when you cannot speak for yourself.
2. Legal safeguards exist to ensure that health care proxies are not misused. Hospitals and nursing homes are required to ask if you have an advance directive and you can always override, change, or cancel your proxy.
3. Having a health care proxy can be a wise step. If you do not have a health care proxy, many states will appoint a decision maker for you if you can no longer make your own medical decisions.
4. Advance directives are not financial documents. However, it is quite possible that during a visit with an attorney to discuss financial and estate planning affairs, advance directives may be packaged together with other estate planning documents.
5. Before setting up any advance directive, review your current health and future wishes in as much detail as possible with family, legal counsel, and a chosen proxy. Once a document has been executed, store the document in a safe and known place and give all involved parties a copy.
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