Estate Planning for a Health Crisis – Estate Planning Lawyer – Portland, Oregon

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The attorneys with Nay & Friedenberg explain the importance of being legally prepared for a health crisis.

Preparing for the possibility of a health crisis is the best way to ensure that your wishes are honored—even when you are unable to communicate with your own doctors. Below is a list of the tools that estate planners in Oregon commonly use to help clients plan. Ideally, such documents will never be used, but if they are, they will be invaluable to you and your loved ones.

A Living Will (sometimes referred to as “medical directive” or “directive to physicians”) is a set of written instructions regarding life support and other treatments in the event the patient terminally ill or permanently unconscious. The Living Will covers only these narrow, end-of-life situations.

A Health Care Power of Attorney (or “medical power of attorney”) is a document that allows you to name someone you trust, called an agent or “power of attorney”, to make health decisions for you. You may give broad powers or limited ones and the agent only has as much authority as you grant. Generally, most people give their agent the power to make end-of-life decisions.

An Advance Directive for Health Care combines the Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney into one document. In the Advance Directive for Health Care, you may include any other directions such as instructions on blood transfusion and organ donation.

POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form translates your wishes regarding resuscitation and medical interventions into doctor’s orders. It must be signed by the attending physician. Your signature is optional so, even if you cannot sign, you may still have a POLST. The Oregon Health Authority operates a statewide registry for the collection and dissemination of POLST forms with the goal of ensuring the outcome requested by the patient, even when the POLST form is not readily available. A patient may choose not to include his/her POLST form in the registry.

Declaration for Mental Health Treatment allows you to designate an agent to make mental health treatment decisions on your behalf. Since the law is currently unclear as to whether or not the health care representative named in the Advanced Directive for Health Care has the right to make mental health treatment decisions, the Declaration may be useful if you think this may be an issue for you someday. Through the Declaration for Mental Health Treatment, you may make a declaration of preferences or instructions on mental health treatment, including consent to or refusal of such treatment. The statute limits the time for mental health treatment under this Declaration to 17 days. The Declaration remains in effect for three years after its execution.

An experienced estate planning attorney can make all the difference in advising you on the the best documents to fit your family’s specific planning needs. Contact the Estate Planning attorneys with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment.