When people think about consulting an estate planning attorney in Santa Rosa or elsewhere, they usually think about how their property and wealth will be divided among their loved ones. Responsible clients make plans for all of this with their attorneys. The even moreresponsible clients also take the important step of making sure their taxes and funeral are paid for. But even our most responsible clients sometimes avoid the topics of advance directives and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).
POLST forms were designed specifically for patients with very serious or terminal diagnoses. POLST forms are more detailed than a simple “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR). They always involve shared decision making between the patient and his health care provider and cover such treatments as tube feeding and IV hydration. What measures does the patient want his doctor to take to extend his life? What measures does he not want taken? The legalities of POLST vary from state to state and are always changing, especially because it’s a relatively new development in health care. Some states require a physician’s signature, and some don’t. However, they never substitute for a power of attorney for health care.
If you have a family member who needs to fill out a POLST form, it’s important to respect her desires. Don’t worry about the legal aspects at first, just listen to what she wants for her care. What would make herthe most comfortable?
If you are visiting your estate planning attorney in Sonoma County, your family will be grateful if you make it perfectly clear what is to happen with your property and your money, but they will be extremely grateful to know your desires for end-of-life care. And so will you! Don’t forget this very important aspect of planning for the future. It’s much easier and more comforting to plan ahead than to make decisions later while you’re in the hospital or to hope the doctor makes the choice you’d want her to when you are unable to voice your desires.
So if your health situation warrants it, make POLST a part of your planning. When you are looking for a caring, reputable estate planning attorney in Santa Rosa for yourself or a loved one, CONTACT US by calling (707) 200-1366. We can help you with trusts, wills, powers of attorney, and all the legal aspects of POLST forms from signing to possible litigation.