Creating your estate plan is an essential part of preparing for your retirement and your end-of-life plans, but many people do not even know where to start. Ensuring you have what you need for your estate plan will help to protect you and your loved ones from the legal and financial complications that can arise as you grow older, and after you pass away. Here are five things you should consider for your estate plan:
Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects cognitive functions, including memory, thinking, and behavior. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease and, by 2050, that number will increase to nearly fourteen million. The association claims that Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Continue reading “Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s and the Need for Advanced Directives to be in Place”
On December 21, 2011, the state of New Jersey, under the authority of then-governor Chris Christie, created the standardized Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form. The state of New Jersey recognized the importance of advanced directives (living wills, in particular) and decided to create a statewide form for individuals to set limitations on life-sustaining treatment in case of incapacitation. Continue reading “What is POLST?”
Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy designates an agent to make medical decisions in the event a person becomes incapacitated.
Continue reading “Summer Is Approaching, so Be Sure to Have Your Advanced Directives in Place”
Advanced directives are documents that assist in the event that a person loses the capacity to make decisions on their own behalf. These documents allow a designated agent to act on someone else’s behalf in order to make medical or financial decisions. It is recommended that those over the age of eighteen have advanced directives in place, especially if he or she is going away to college. Continue reading “Be Sure You Have Advanced Directives in Place”
A health care proxy is a signed document that gives an agent or agents the power to make medical decisions for someone in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated. Oftentimes, many people ask whether or not an attorney is required to sign a health care proxy for it to be valid. The answer to that question is no. An attorney is not required to sign a health care proxy. In order for a health care proxy to be valid, two adult witnesses must sign it. It is worth noting that a named health care agent cannot be a witness. In addition, it is important to name alternate agents in the event that the first agent is unable, unavailable, or unwilling to act.
Every individual should have documents such as a Health Care Proxy, Living Will, Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and/or Do Not Intubate (DNI), and Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) in place to assist loved ones who may need to make medical decisions on their behalf, including end-of-life decisions. A brief overview of the purpose of each document can be found below.
In December 2011, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that enables patients to indicate their wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment through the practitioner/physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) form. POLST is a medical order that is completed by a physician or an advance nurse practitioner (APN) and is intended for patients with life-limiting illnesses. The advance planning tool POLST should be established and utilized complementary to, not in place of, advance directives.
More than 68 percent of New Jersey residents know someone who has or had dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to a survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson’s PublicMind. Dementia is a group of symptoms that can include impairments to one’s ability to think and communicate, as well as memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is a progressive, degenerative disorder that impairs thinking, behavior and memory. Due to the degenerative nature of the disease, those with Alzheimer’s are encouraged to obtain an advance directive, a legal document that can direct medical and financial wishes, even after the point when individuals lose the ability to do so themselves.