Many people know that planning for retirement and planning for the allocation of their estate are two inevitable tasks. Planning for incapacity, or the inability to perform various legal and medical functions, however, is just a possibility, not an inevitability. However, having a plan in place in the event you are incapacitated can help protect your assets and your medical wishes just in case the future does not go to plan. An advance directive is a written statement of your wishes regarding your medical treatment and are legally binding documents.
The state of Texas recognizes five common types of advance directives: directive to physicians, family, and surrogates; medical power of attorney; out-of-hospital do not resuscitate; durable power of attorney, and declaration for mental health treatment. An experienced Texas estate planning attorney can help you decide which of these documents best meets your incapacity planning needs.
Directive to Physicians and Family
A directive to physicians, family, or surrogates is also known as a living will. This directive will state your wishes regarding life-sustaining procedures or measures in the event you have a terminal condition and your death becomes imminent.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is what many people may associate with providing legal directives for care in the event of incapacity. A medical power of attorney allows you to name another individual that is authorized to make medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated. A medical power of attorney only lasts as long as the period of time you are incapacitated.
Out-of-Hospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)
An out-of-hospital DNR is another advance directive people may be familiar with—it directs physicians to allow you to die a natural death without resuscitation measures. It differs from a directive to physicians in that emergency medical personnel must obey it, whereas the directive to physicians only applies if you are under the care of that physician.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney allows you to designate someone to make financial or property decisions, which can supplement your estate planning needs. This differs from a medical power of attorney in that this individual has no ability to authorize treatment decisions.
Declaration for Mental Health Treatment
A declaration for mental health treatment allows you to make certain specifications about the mental health treatment you would like to receive in the event you are mentally incapacitated, as determined by a court. If not incapacitated, however, you will still be authorized to make consent decisions about mental health treatment regardless of the declaration.
Call a Houston Estate Planning Lawyer Today
If you need help executing an advance directive or navigating other incapacity or estate planning tools, contact the team at McCulloch Miller, PLLC. Our Houston estate planning attorneys have helped families make these crucial decisions for decades and will work closely with you and your family to construct the right plan for you. Contact our office at 713-936-9073 to schedule an initial consultation with an attorney on our team.