Guiding You
To The Other Side Of Family Law Matters
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Estate Planning
  4.  » An advance directive is a helpful estate planning tool

An advance directive is a helpful estate planning tool

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Everyone hopes they will enjoy good health as they age. However, many people in Texas and beyond encounter medical issues like chronic illness or neurodegenerative diseases like dementia in their golden years. If this happens to you, but you haven’t initiated the estate planning process, especially an advance directive, a medical doctor might be the one making decisions about your health if you become incapacitated.  

Signing an advance directive while you are of sound mind and in good health protects your interests and ensures that your wishes will carry out for end-of-life care and other important decisions. Several documents come under this category. If you’re not familiar with them, you’ll want to seek experienced guidance from someone who can help you execute an estate plan that fits your needs.  

2 main types of advance directives in estate planning 

You may have heard the term “living will” at some point in your life. This is a primary document used for advance care planning. Another integral component of advanced care is the durable power of attorney for healthcare. If you have these two documents in your estate plan, you can trust that your preferences will be honored regarding issues such as feeding tubes, resuscitation and more.  

You can incorporate both a living will and durable power of attorney into your estate plan. The latter enables you to designate a proxy (someone to act on your behalf) regarding health issues. While the instructions in a living will typically pertain directly to medical care, a healthcare proxy can also make decisions regarding financial issues pertaining to healthcare, as well as many other issues.  

Heart attack, car accident, stroke and more 

If you suffer a stroke or heart attack, are involved in a car accident or some other emergency incident or health issue, you might become incapacitated. Incapacitation can make it impossible for you to speak and act and make decisions on your own behalf.  

In such situations, it’s helpful to have written decisions that you have made prior to falling ill or suffering injuries to let doctors know what you want. It’s also helpful to have a person you trust on hand to advocate for you and to make decisions to protect your best interests.  

Always review and update your estate planning documents 

Once you’ve executed an estate plan in Texas, you’ll want to periodically review it to check for necessary updates. For example, if you have named all your grandchildren as beneficiaries in your last will and testament, and a birth or adoption occurs in your family, you may need to update your estate plan. However, if you cannot demonstrate testamentary capacity (soundness of mind and understanding of the process), then you cannot validly update your estate plan.