Hand holding documents passes them to another person. Living will, POC

Planning for the Future: What Documents Are Necessary?

Planning for the future is necessary when one has Parkinson's disease (PD). Making plans with my spouse, family, or attorney is recommended. Specifically, this is necessary if I cannot verbalize my thoughts and wishes. Seeking advice from an attorney is definitely encourage. Below is a list of documents I find helpful to plan for the future.

Healthcare surrogate

Why should I appoint a healthcare surrogate? According to AARP, "A health care surrogate designation is a legal document that appoints a person to become your 'surrogate' if you become incapacitated." Incapacity means that a person is physically or mentally unable to manage their medical care, talk to their doctors, or make decisions when it comes to their medical care.1

Living will

A living will (advanced healthcare directive) is a legal document. I made my wishes known regarding life-prolonging medical treatments. It informs others of my end-of-life choices. It talks about future care with the medical treatments that I may wish to have. I put my living will in writing and the information includes how I wish to be treated with all available measures possible.

If I chose to be listed as "Do Not Resuscitate" (DNR), I could add the information here. Hence, I chose someone I trust, namely, my wife, to help carry out this advanced directive. She will give a copy of my wishes to health care professionals and hospitals for my care.

You can choose any adult friend or attorney to carry out your wishes. You can learn more about living wills and requirements in your state by searching online. Otherwise, speak to your attorney.

Durable power of attorney

In addition, I signed a durable power of attorney. I appointed my wife, to act on my behalf if I become incapacitated. I did this so that she can make any other important decisions that may arise that are not part of my living will. She will inform the medical professionals, hospitals, and more, of any additional decisions I made.

Why do I need a Trust?

A trust is a document that manages what happens to all property. There were two types of trusts that I chose from: a revocable living trust and a non-revocable living trust.

What's the difference? A revocable living trust is a type of trust that lets me still manage my assets during my lifetime. It informs others of my wishes of how my property will be distributed when I expire. I can change this type of trust at any time.

A non-revocable living trust may not be changed once the document is signed. The exception being that it can be changed if all other people in the trust concur with the changes. Estate taxes are structured differently between both trusts. A tax or elder law attorney can advise which one would be best in your situation. A lawyer will be necessary to file a non-revocable living trust.

Why I selected these

I discussed my desires with those close to me and I executed these documents to protect my family. I chose to keep full control by choosing a revocable living trust.

The documents I selected will help my family avoid probate court and estate taxes. In conclusion, I have now informed my family of my wishes and everyone's peace of mind.

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