Everyone deserves to have their wishes followed even when they are unable to express those wishes. By preparing the following documents, you are clearly stating for all to see who you would want to make decisions for you if you are unable to, and what those decisions should be. This makes it possible to follow your wishes. If those wishes are not recorded while you are competent to do so, those you wish to act for you may not have authority to do so, and your wishes may not be followed because your wishes are not known. Further, it becomes possible that a loved one or someone else will have to go to court to have a judge, who has never met you, decide who should act for you and then determine what you would want. Therefore, there is no better way for your wishes to be followed than for you to state them clearly in writing. The following is a list of documents everyone should have.
Appoints an agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so, even if only temporarily incapacitated. If capacity returns, the principal’s wishes will be followed. It also allows you to state whether you wish to, or do not wish to, donate any needed organs. For additional facts, visit http://www.ag.ny.gov/bureaus/health_care/resource_center.html.
Statement of a person’s wishes concerning the prolonged artificial life sustaining care he or she would want.
Power of Attorney:
Allows you, as the principal, to appoint one or more other persons to act as your agents as if you were physically present. The power can be as broad or as narrow as you like. The power of attorney can take effect immediately (by a “Durable” power of attorney) or upon the happening of an event (called a “Springing” power). You can appoint another to simply do your banking, or delegate as broad a range of powers as possible so that planning and other financial and personal matters can be addressed in the event you are unable to act. Because incapacity can happen very suddenly (for example as a result of a severe car accident) it is strongly recommended that everyone have a Durable Power of Attorney and that the powers given be as broad as possible. However, given the power being conveyed, it is also strongly recommended that you carefully consider whom you are appointing as your agent.
Appointing an Agent to Dispose of Remains:
Allows another to make decisions concerning the disposal of your remains, funeral arrangements and other relevant factors.
Last Will and Testament:
Just about everyone knows that a Will dictates how one’s property is to be disposed of after death. A Will also states who you want to administer that property. However, a properly drafted Will can also provide significant tax savings and make provisions for an ill spouse or a disabled or minor beneficiary. In the absence of a Will or other testamentary dispositions, the Laws of the State of New York will determine who inherits your property.