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Advance health care directives and Washington, DC estate planning

Numerous people in Washington, DC have wills and believe that is the only preparation for their demise that they need to make. Notwithstanding the fact that a will is an important part of estate planning, it is not the only document that needs to be made a part of an effective estate plan. One of those other documents is the advance health care directive.

An advance health care directive serves two purposes. On the one hand, it gives the maker the chance to put into writing their wishes regarding end-of-life treatment. Secondly, it provides the opportunity to designate a person they trust to make decisions on his or her behalf regarding health care.

Without these directives, an incapacitated person could inadvertently put his or her family in an untenable situation. If there is nothing in writing expressing the maker's wishes, the family will be left to guess and could end up arguing over what course of treatment should be taken. Plus, having someone designated to make decision on that person's behalf will also eliminate any arguing or confusion regarding what is to be done. Not only will this help with decision making, but it may also save the family from depleting financial resources when the incapacitated person never intended for treatment to continue.

An advance health care directive can be of particular importance as a person ages. The chances of becoming incapacitated can increase the older a person gets. Washington, DC elders who want to make sure that their wishes are carried out should they end up unable to express those wishes may benefit from having this document. As with any other estate planning document, there are certain language and legal requirements that must be in the document in order to make it valid, so having one drafted along with other estate documents may ensure that the document does what it is supposed to do when it is needed.

Source: Forbes, Estate Planning For The Rest Of Us, Liz Davidson, Sept. 12, 2013

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