While it is true that financial matters are generally at the root estate planning efforts, there are other things to consider as well. Once you become serious enough about planning for the future to consult with an estate planning attorney you are going to recognize the fact that there are a number of different legal matters that you would do well to address. One of these is the possibility of incapacity. Before we talk about why it is important to have advance health care directives in place as a response let’s look at some statistics.
People are living longer than ever in the United States today, and the segment of the population that is at least 85 years old is the fastest-growing age demographic subset. On the surface this sounds great and of course life is precious, but as we all know there are health challenges that often go along with reaching an advanced age. We have all heard of Alzheimer’s disease, but many people are surprised to hear that approximately 40% of the individuals who reach the age of 85 suffer from Alzheimer’s. Of course Alzheimer’s causes dementia which can impede the sufferer’s ability to make sound decisions.
In addition to Alzheimer’s there are other reasons why people lose their decision-making capacity, and this is why the execution of advance health care directives is recommended. To cover all your bases you may want to include both a living well and a durable medical power of attorney. With the living will you specifically state what types of medical procedures you would accept or deny in the event of your incapacitation, with the use of artificial life support systems usually being central to the document.