ESTATE PLANNING FOR CHRONIC ILLNESS
One of the many important legal documents California residents who are chronically ill should have in their estate plan is a living will. This document allows individuals to expressly state their health care preferences. In addition to addressing decisions regarding end of life care, it can state whether individuals have certain religious beliefs that would affect the health care they receive or if they do not want any restrictions on the treatment they receive.
People with chronic medical conditions can alter the general language of a living will to detail the specific conditions they have. They can also detail at what stage their condition is and how the condition may progress. Their desire to receive experimental treatments can be mentioned as well as whether the agent appointed under a financial power of attorney is responsible for funding such treatments.
Wishes regarding organ and tissue donation should also be included in the living will. For example, people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease may want their brain to be donated to research. Another important document chronically illpeople should have in their estate plan is a health care proxy. Also known as a medical power of attorney, the legal document is used to designate a trusted party to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated principal.
An attorney may assist clients with creating the estate planning documents needed to ensure that their wishes regarding medical and financial issues are honored. Assistance may be provided with creating certain types of trusts as well.