Search Site
Menu

Estate Planning for Life – Not an Oxymoron

When most people think of estate planning they typically think wills, trusts and death.  However, the actuality is that one of the major focuses of good estate planning is for incapacity during a client’s lifetime.  I take a very educational approach to my consultations and I am always pleased when we reach the end of a planning meeting and I hear one of my clients say they truly understand what documents we are drafting for them and why.  Below are a few documents that are beneficial before a client’s death.

Powers of Attorney (Medical and Financial)

A power of attorney is an instrument by which one person (the principal) grants to another (the agent) the power to perform certain acts on his or her behalf.  Two types of powers of attorney are common in the estate planning field, namely the power of attorney for health care and the durable power of attorney.

The power of attorney for health care grants the agent the power to make health care decisions for the principal if he or she is unable to make them.  The agent may exercise his or her authority only if the principal’s attending physician certifies the principal lacks the capacity to make health care decisions. The principal can revoke the power of attorney at any time, orally or in writing, and regardless of the principal’s mental state.  I think the main benefits of this document is that a client can choose the person they feel would make the decision they would in that situation and also the minimization of conflict between family members who have different opinions.

The second type in this category is a durable power of attorney. This instrument grants authority to a designated agent to manage the principal’s property on his or her behalf.  The principal can grant one or more specific powers or grant the agent all of the powers listed in the statutory form.  In addition, the principal can elect to have the power of attorney effective immediately upon signing it or only upon the principal’s future incapacity.  This document is absolutely indispensible, especially to a married couple with community property that cannot be disposed of without both party’s competent participation.

Directive to Physicians (Living Will)

The Advance Directives Act took effect on September 1, 1999 and replaced three prior laws (the Texas Natural Death Act from 1977, the Texas Medical Power of Attorney Act from 1989, and the Out of Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Act from 1993).  Essentially by signing a directive to physicians, a competent adult can instruct his or her physician to withhold or withdraw artificial life-sustaining procedures in the event of a terminal condition.  Not every person chooses to have a Directive and by law no  physician, health facility, health care provider, insurer, or health care service plan may require someone to sign a directive.

The directive takes effect only after two physicians determine that the patient is either: (a) terminally ill and the patient’s attending physician determines that death is imminent or will result in a relatively short time without application of artificial life-sustaining procedures or (b) the patient is suffering from an irreversible condition such that the patient cannot care for himself/herself or make decisions for himself/herself and that death will result without application of artificial life-sustaining procedures.

If a client desires their life not be artificially prolonged in these situations, then this is a very reassuring document and it may also be desirable to provide your primary care physician with a copy of the directive.  Failure to sign a directive can result in difficulties for family members in carrying out these types of wishes with respect to terminating artificial life-sustaining procedures.

Everyone feels differently about the details of these situations.  However, regardless of these differences, it is imperative that an estate plan be as comprehensive as possible and include these and other types of documents that can help during your lifetime.  It is also very important that your estate planning attorney be willing to spend the time with you necessary for complete understanding of what these documents can do for you and your family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact a Dedicated Texas Business Lawyer To Schedule a Consultation
Call 281-367-1222 or contact us online to schedule a meeting.

Strong In Action

  • Spring 2021

    The Strong Firm prevails in dispositive motion regarding Texas economic loss rule resulting in dismissal of claims again party.

    Read More
  • Spring 2019

    The Strong Firm successfully forecloses first priority lien against multi-million dollar commercial asset.

    Read More
  • Spring 2021

    The Strong Firm secures writ of reentry after unlawful lockout of commercial tenant.

    Read More
  • Spring 2021

    The Strong Firm prevails in writ of mandamus proceeding involving denial of temporary restraining order to stop foreclosure sale.

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  • Peer Rated 2022 Award
  • Clio Client-Centered Certification

Recent Blog Posts

Wealth Planning & Preservation: Essential Considerations for Your Financial Future

As trusted legal advisors, we recognize the importance of proactively addressing the complexities of wealth planning and safeguarding your financial future and legacy. In today's rapidly changing economic landscape, it's essential for individuals and families to understand the potential risks and opportunities associated with managing their wealth effectively. At The Strong
Read More
Wealth Planning & Preservation: Essential Considerations for Your Financial Future

Navigating Employment Law Concerns: A Guide To The Biggest Risks for Texas Employers

Navigating Employment Law Concerns: A Guide To The Biggest Risks for Texas Employers As trusted legal advisors, we understand the complexities and challenges that employers face when navigating the landscape of employment law. With the ever-evolving regulatory environment, it's crucial for employers to stay informed and proactive in addressing legal concerns. One
Read More
Navigating Employment Law Concerns: A Guide To The Biggest Risks for Texas Employers

Asset Flow in Estate Planning

Planning for the distribution of your assets upon your passing can seem a daunting task regardless of the size of your estate.  However, planning for how those assets will be distributed, and ensuring your estate plan accounts for your desired distribution, is essential. In this article, we will discuss the
Read More
Asset Flow in Estate Planning

Kelly Sullivan Joins The Strong Firm P.C. As Senior Counsel

The Strong Firm P.C. is excited to announce the addition of Kelly Sullivan to its team of experienced attorneys. Kelly adds exceptional strength to the firm’s established practice areas based on her wealth of experience in the areas of Litigation, Labor and Employment Law, Business Law and Governmental Law, Zoning
Read More
Kelly Sullivan Joins The Strong Firm P.C. As Senior Counsel
  • Video Vault


    Watch videos done by our legal team to gain a better understanding of your legal needs. Our lawyers give video insight into areas such as Real Estate, Business Law, Mergers & Acquisitions and much more.
Contact us

Quick Contact Form