Planning for the End

Posted on: Sep 20, 2015

Few people like to think about death, especially their own. However, it is far better to actively and effectively prepare for death than to avoid thinking about it.
End-of-life legal planning with an experienced and knowledgeable Elder Law attorney is absolutely vital for making sure your affairs are properly handled and your wishes are effectively carried out. This includes at the end of your life and after your death. If you neglect to make plans for and discuss your end-of-life care wishes and other aspects of your estate plan, you are doing a disservice to your loved ones. They may be thrust into the difficult position of having to make decisions about whether you should receive life-sustaining medical treatment or how your estate should be handled and by whom.
End-of-life legal planning takes the uncertainty out of handling your affairs for your loved ones. It protects them from the responsibility and guilt of having to make decisions about whether to sustain your life if you cannot decide.
Far too many seniors find themselves facing a terminal diagnosis and rushing to get their estate plan and financial affairs in order. As a result, they lose precious time spent with family and friends at the end of their lives. The situation is worse if you die or become incapacitated unexpectedly and leave an administrative and legal burden for your loved ones to contend with at the same time they are grieving your loss.
Medicare recognizes the importance of these discussions and is taking steps to incentivize doctors to facilitate end-of-life counseling and planning. Currently, Medicare reimburses doctors to have end-of-life discussions with patients only if it occurs on a new Medicare enrollee’s first visit. However, the government is moving to provide that doctors are reimbursed by Medicare for these discussions any time they occur.
These are conversations every person and family needs to have as they age – with your doctor and with your attorney. End-of-life legal counseling will give you the opportunity to discuss essential Estate Planning matters like creating a Will, assigning an Attorney-in-Fact for both your financial and healthcare decisions should you become incapacitated and creating healthcare directives that memorialize your wishes for end-of-life treatment.
Having a discussion with your physician is an excellent first step to understanding end-of-life medical decisions. End-of-life legal planning should be done with an Elder Law attorney who can advise you and guide you to ensure your wishes are honored and the protections you desire are put in place for your family ahead of need. You owe it to your loved ones to engage in end-of-life planning BEFORE you need it. We can help. Call Elder Law Group at (509) 468-0551 today.