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Advance medical directives part of the estate planning process

Once the will is drafted, many Colorado individuals assume that they have adequately prepared for the future. While this important document does identify how assets are to be divided and who will take care of any minor children, it does not address one's wishes in the event that an illness or injury prevents the individual from making decisions for him or herself. For this reason, advance medical directives should also be drafted for each individual.

Most people have specific desires regarding their medical treatment. For example, some want every measure possible taken to extend life. However, others do not want extreme measures taken if there is little to no chance for recovery. If these wishes have not been expressed, loved ones will be left having to assume what the individual would prefer.

Additionally, some illness such as Alzheimer's will eventually require a feeding tube because the individual will lose the ability to swallow or will not be coherent enough to be able to eat. Again, some individuals would prefer that this measure not be taken. This is a difficult decision for loved ones to make; knowing the individual's wishes can relieve that added burden.

Depending upon the situation, a spouse or other loved one may be able to make care decisions for the Colorado resident. However, there are times when this is not possible unless advance medical directives are in place. In addition to a will, an experienced estate planning attorney can assist with creating this document. Once it is necessary, it is too late for an advance medical directive to be drafted.

Source: mdjonline.com, "Even married couples need to discuss power of attorney", William Lako, Nov. 9, 2017

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