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Health care in the estate plan

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2023 | Trust, Will |

Under South Carolina intestate succession laws, if someone dies without a will, their assets automatically transfer to the closest relatives. However, there may be interim issues when estate planning for the final days. Many select a power of attorney in case they become incapacitated before death. A power of attorney can provide financial matters or help manage healthcare. Estate plans can also include healthcare directives designed to provide guidance in case of serious injury or illness.

Healthcare and estate planning

The owner of the estate, or life tenant, uses a health directive to establish their preferences for care in the event of a medical emergency where they could no longer communicate. Healthcare directives are typically featured as instructions for medical treatment in a living will or bestowed through the healthcare power of attorney. Preparing a healthcare directive ahead of time can help relieve the family of making tough decisions during a moment of crisis.

Healthcare directives and estate planning

Providing detailed instructions established beforehand has proven effective in protecting the life tenant’s values until their demise. Using a health directive in estate planning helps the life tenants designate who will be entrusted with the most critical aspects of medical care in the future. This proactive approach helps reduce uncertainty about future health care and is considered an integral part of a comprehensive estate plan.

By establishing standards and expectations on record, healthcare directives can also protect against unwanted care, neglect or abuse. These healthcare directives can also provide direction on potential legal issues like establishing do-not-resuscitate orders under specific circumstances. The healthcare directive must be legally binding and readily available to be truly effective in an estate plan. The provisions of the healthcare directive should be updated as circumstances change with time.