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Oklahoma residents may consider living wills in advance planning

Advanced planning can help to ensure that a person's plan for the distribution of assets and accumulated wealth is carried out according to his or her wishes at the time of death. Sometimes, health-related events occur prior to death that render a person incapable of speaking or acting on his or her own behalf due to mental or physical disabilities. Certain documents, such as living wills, if filed while one is still of sound body and mind can protect a person's decisions with regard to health care. Oklahoma residents may want to consider these documents when planning their estates.

The absence of advanced directive documents can create potential burdens and complications for loved ones in the event that a person becomes incapable of rendering health care decisions during a medical emergency. A recent article listed the most common types of advanced directives that can serve as written instructions with regard to a person's preferences during a life-threatening situation if he or she is unable to act or speak. Living wills and health care powers of attorney are typically the means by which advanced directives are filed.

A living will documents a person's wishes regarding life-threatening emergencies if he or she is incapable of communication. A health care power of attorney names another person who is to act on behalf of the one who has become incapacitated. Both documents pertain only to medical decisions during emergency situations and have nothing to do with finances or personal assets.

Oklahoma residents may wish to consider living wills when attempting to provide peace of mind for themselves and loved ones in the event of medical emergencies. The recent article also stated that once such documents are filed, it is important to review them on a regular basis and keep them updated. Health care professionals who are familiar with potential medical emergencies and attorneys with experience in estate planning can, together, provide valuable advice to those who are preparing to document advanced directives.

Source: marshfieldnewsherald.com, "Advance Care Directives make sense", April 12, 2015

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