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What to Include in a Power of Attorney and Advance Directive (Living Will)

Pre-Death Estate Planning is an essential part of all Estate Plans. There are certain documents that are essential to preserve, safeguard and ensure that your wishes are followed in the event of unforseen tragedy. A lawyer for wills can make sure you’re prepared with the correct documents.

An Advance Directive provides for the designation of a Medical Power of Attorney and expresses your end of life plan. This is also commonly referred to as a “Living Will”.  This document designates Agents, appointed by you,  who will have access to your medical records and will be empowered to make medical decisions for you in the event your become physically or mentally impaired and cannot make these decisions on your own behalf. 

Such decisions include authorization to receive medical records, consult with your physicians to make health care decisions on your behalf. This document also includes your expressed preferences for life-sustaining measures and end of life care. This document serves to safeguard your legal right to medical privacy while allowing your designated agent(s) to participate in your medical care when you are unable to make these decisions on your own behalf.  To ensure that your Living Will and Medical Directive represents your wishes, involving a skilled and experienced Lawyer for Wills or a general Estates Attorney in this process is crucial.  

Here is a comprehensive guide on what to include in an Advance Directive:

What Should You Include in an Advance Directive?

Maryland law guides the foundation of an Advanced Directive and requires certain provisions to be included in order for the document to be legal and valid. It is also important to note that a Medical Power of Attorney cannot be executed by you after you are diagnosed with a condition that deems you mentally impaired, such as the onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s etc. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a wills attorney or a lawyer with experience in Estate Planning while you’re still healthy.

When creating an Advance Directive, you should include the following:

A Living Will

A Living Will is a legal document that outlines your desired medical treatment should you ever be in a position where you are no longer able to make medical decisions on your own behalf. In a Living Will you designate your end of life preferences on your own behalf within the document.  These decisions involve making some difficult choices in advance. Working with an attorney for wills can help you identify various scenarios that you might face; including to what extent you want medical intervention at certain phases of your of condition in the future. 

 A Living Will also outlines options for treatment and pain management if you are incapacitated or mentally impaired. Additionally, it can outline whether you would like physicians to take action to extend your life for as long as medically possible or whether you would like to limit medical intervention if your condition is terminal. 

Financial Power of Attorney

A Fiancial Power of Attorney is a document that designates an agent to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated and/or mentally impaired. This Agent will have access to your financial records, accounts and other areas of importance in your life, so choosing that agent is very important and must be done with care and caution. This document identifies what your agent has authority over and shall be in effect until you pass away. Upon your death, the personal representative appointed in your Last Will and Testament takes on the rule of your agent. 

Just as with an Advance Directive and Living Will,  it’s important to work with a trusted Wills Attorney or Lawyer for Estate Planning to help you create a Power of Attorney tailor-made for you. This document is vital for all individuals when they turn 18 and are legally deemed to be an adult. Thereafter, even as a parent, your rights to act on behalf of your adult children is limited. Every Adult should ensure that they designate a trusted agent to act on their behalf in event of an unforeseen crisis. 

Get Help From an Experienced Lawyer for Wills

Taking the steps to create an Advance Directive and Power of Attorney is daunting because it requires you to think about worst-case scenarios and make uncomfortable and difficult choices before anything has happened. However, once these documents are properly drafted and fully executed, your peace of mind is significantly eased and you can rest assured that your affairs are in order in case tragedy strikes.  Planning ahead also allows you the opportunity to discuss your wishes and expectations with your designated agents well before they are called upon to act on your behalf. 

To ensure that the Power of Attorney and Advance Directive are legally sound, fully comprehensive and express your wishes for your future care,;it is important to work with an experienced wills lawyer and Estate Planning Attorney.  If you find yourself searching for “lawyer for wills near me”,  We at ZM Law Group will help you with all your legal questions and concerns with all estate planning matters. 

Contact us today for more information about creating an Advance Directive, Power of Attorney, and all other Estate Planning documents specific to your individual needs. 

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