Brandon Family Law Center, LLC
813-438-7119 Local
800-769-0129 Toll Free
Contact Us for a Consultation

When estate planning is a matter of life and death

When thinking about estate planning, many people simply view it as a tool for passing on their assets to their loved ones.

While this is certainly one key reason for creating an estate plan, there are other important reasons why it is critical to have one while you're still alive.

Case-in-point: a tattoo

Recently, a hospital admitted an unconscious 70-year old Florida man. When the staff went to resuscitate him, they noticed that he had a tattoo that said "Do Not Resuscitate."

The hospital staff initially decided that it would be best to ignore the tattoo and take measures to keep him alive. It was possible, they believed, that the tattoo may not have reflected his current wishes or that he acquired the tattoo during a time of duress.

It was only after consulting with an ethics advisor and thoroughly reviewing his case that they honored the request written on the tattoo and allowed the man to die.

Outline your end-of-life medical decisions

Having an up-to-date estate plan can help ensure that health care workers follow your medical wishes if you are incapacitated. In addition to having a "do not resuscitate" document, you may want to consider having a:

  • Living will: While a last will and testament takes effect after you die, a living will gives you security while you are still alive. A living allows you to state clearly which medical operations you want to receive and whether you would like to be kept alive by artificial means.
  • Power of attorney: If you are incapacitated and in a hospital, it is important to have someone present who will make decisions on your behalf that reflect your interests. A power of attorney allows you to name someone who will make financial or medical decisions for you.

Failing to have these documents in place may force the hospital to make a decision on your behalf, and there is no guarantee they will act in the way you would prefer. Having a complete estate plan--preferably written on paper, rather than as a tattoo--will provide doctors with greater clarity during serious medical events.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Brandon Family Law Center, LLC

813-438-7119 or 800-769-0129 Contact Us for a Consultation