Advance Directives and Living Wills
A Specialized Part of Your Estate Plan Regarding Health Care Decisions
Any well-drafted estate plan in Alabama will include an advance directive, also known as a health-care proxy or “living will.” This instrument is very similar to a durable power of attorney in that it allows a client to appoint an agent to make decisions on his behalf in the event he becomes incapacitated. However, unlike the power of attorney, which is aimed primarily at financial decisions of the estate such as selling property or paying taxes, the advance directive is tailored to health-care decisions regarding the incapacitated client, such as whether to remove or continue life support. Such decisions are never easy, but having a plan in place before the unexpected happens can relieve much of the stress associated with such choices that must be made.
An advance directive is a form that generally lays out several scenarios regarding difficult health-care decisions, and the client chooses what should happen in the event of each scenario. For example, a client might direct that in the event of brain death, his feeding tube should be removed. With an advance directive, the client makes all the choices rather than appointing another. Alternatively, a health-care proxy authorizes another person to make these kinds of decisions for the client. A well-drafted estate plan will have both instruments at work: an advance directive specifying the client’s wishes, and a health-care proxy in case of any unforeseen contingencies that may arise.
The attorneys of Parkman White, LLP have years of experience in probate work and have extensive experience drafting advance directives and health-care proxies, and can help you ensure that an appropriate plan is in place to meet your specific needs. If you or a loved one live in the Hoover, Birmingham, Vestavia Hills area, contact us today at 205-502-2000 for a consultation regarding your Alabama Living Will alternatives.