Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives

Compassionate Elder Law Lawyer Guiding Indianapolis Residents

Planning in advance for the possibility that you may not be capable of making decisions later in life can be a difficult process. However, these preparations can be important in ensuring that your wishes are carried out. At Adler Law LLC, we are sensitive to the fact that estate planning is often difficult to contemplate, and we take the time to learn about your concerns and fully explain your options. Indianapolis elder law attorney Michael J. Adler has been providing guidance to aging individuals for 15 years. He can help you prepare an advanced directive that carefully expresses your wishes regarding future medical and financial decisions. Mr. Adler can also assist you in creating a power of attorney and health care directive, as well as answer any questions you may have regarding these instruments.

Powers of Attorney and Appointments of Health Care Representatives

Careful estate planning typically involves the use of advanced directives, which are the legal instruments used to manifest the intentions of an individual regarding health care and finances once he or she becomes incapacitated. This will usually involve the creation of a power of attorney, the appointment of a health care representative, and the creation of a written health care directive.

A power of attorney authorizes another person, known as an agent, to act and make decisions on behalf of the principal. A power of attorney can only be created by the principal, who must be at least 18 years old and mentally competent at the time it is executed. One of the advantages of a power of attorney is that it can be designed to suit your specific needs. For example, a power of attorney can grant an agent immediate authority once it is signed, or it can take effect upon the occurrence of a distinct event, such as when the principal becomes incapacitated. The power of attorney can also define the scope of the agent’s authority, limiting it to decisions regarding specific subjects, such as the principal’s medical care or finances, or providing general authority over most matters.

The Indiana Health Care Consent Act allows a spouse, parent, adult child, or adult sibling to make health care decisions for you without written authority. If you wish to designate a certain individual to be solely responsible for making such decisions, appointing a health care representative may be beneficial. An appointment of a health care representative is only effective once you become incapacitated, and it allows your health care representative to decide your medical treatment based on your directives.

Devising a Health Care Directive

A health care directive generally describes legal documents that provide instructions concerning an individual’s health care and use of certain medical procedures. In Indiana, these documents are known as Living Wills and Life-Prolonging Procedures Declarations. A Living Will is used to express your wishes regarding the use of medical treatment and machinery to artificially prolong your life, and it can identify specific procedures that you are willing or unwilling to undergo. A Living Will becomes effective once you are physically or mentally incapable to communicate your decisions. Indiana’s Life-Prolonging Procedures Declaration allows you to state your desire to receive life-prolonging procedures, including artificial life support systems, if you are terminally ill.

Consult an Indianapolis Attorney for an Elder Law Matter

Deciding whether to appoint a power of attorney or establish a health care directive requires an understanding of the legal consequences that they entail. With substantial legal experience and a comprehensive knowledge of estate and probate law, Indianapolis elder law lawyer Michael J. Adler can provide thorough guidance to people considering an advanced directive. Mr. Adler assists individuals in a wide range of legal matters, including estate planning, trust creation, probate administration and litigation, Medicaid planning, and more. At Adler Law LLC, we serve residents of Indianapolis, Westfield, Zionsville, Greenwood, Carmel, and Fishers, as well as other areas of Marion, Hamilton, Boone, Johnson, and Vigo Counties. Call us at 317-635-7880 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with an estate planning attorney.

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