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Designating Someone To Make Health Care Decisions For You

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The Hardest Thing to Talk About in the Context of Your Estate Plan

Estate planning is never a happy subject.  Thinking about one’s death is a difficult project to undertake.  However, as people live longer and we see family members lose their cognitive abilities, many of us are put in the uncomfortable situation of having to make health care decisions for our loved ones.  Because of our own personal experiences with these difficult situations, thinking about who to designate to make health care decisions for us and what decisions we want them to make is probably the hardest thing to talk about as part of an estate plan.

Different States Have Different Forms

All 50 states have some form that is may be used under that state’s law to designate a health care agent, proxy or surrogate.  Whether called an Advance Directive for Health Care, a Health Care Power of Attorney, or a Living Will, all may be used to (a) designate who makes health care decisions for you when you cannot and (b) what health care decisions you’d like that person to make on your behalf (including “end of life” decisions).


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