All you need to know about an advance directive

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Estate Planning

The estate planning process is customizable so that each Oklahoma estate owner can execute a plan according to his or her specific needs and goals. For example, if you want to leave your house an inheritance but don’t want the government to tax your beneficiary on it, you can create a trust rather than listing the house as an asset in your will. Another legal document that many people incorporate into their estate plans is an advance directive.

You may have heard this document referred to by another name, which is a “living will.” It is separate from a last will and testament and can accomplish several things. Perhaps you’re a person who does not want resuscitation if your heart stops or does not want a feeding tube inserted if the ability to eat no longer exists. You can state these preferences in an advance directive, as well as other critical care instructions.

Incorporating a power of attorney in an advance directive

Another important issue you can address with an advance directive is granting a person you trust the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. You might want to designate this authority to more than one person, such as naming someone to handle medical decisions while another individual acts on your behalf in financial matters.

If you plan to designate powers of attorney in your advance directive, it’s imperative that you discuss relevant issues with the appointed individuals. Make sure they know what you want and how you would want them to act in various circumstances.

What must happen for a living will to take effect?

The power of attorney in an advance directive can only take effect under certain conditions. At least two licensed physicians must confirm that you are terminally ill, in a coma or permanently incapacitated and unable to act on your own behalf. This stipulation prevents someone from usurping your right to make decisions regarding your health, finances or other issues.

If you have created an advance directive as part of your Oklahoma estate plan, it’s wise to periodically review it to ensure that it stays updated. If you change your mind about a particular issue, you can amend the document, providing you are of sound mind at the time. It is always best to seek experienced guidance before initiating the estate planning process.