Navigating The World Of Healthcare Advance Directives, Part Two

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Shell Point Retirement Community

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Posted on

Aug 31, 2023

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Florida - Southwest

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This is part two in a four-part series dedicated to an in-depth examination of advance directives: who is eligible to make an advance directive, what it is, how to create one, and what to do with the document after it is completed.

What is an Advance Directive?

An advance directive is a written or oral statement about how you want medical decisions made for you should you not be able to make them yourself. It can also express your wish to make an anatomical donation after death.

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Some people make advance directives when they are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Others put their wishes in writing while they are healthy, often as part of their estate planning.

There are two types of advance directives to consider:

  1. A living will is a written or oral statement of the kind of medical care you want or do not want if you become unable to make your own decisions. It is called a living will because it takes effect while you are still living. You may wish to speak to your healthcare provider or attorney to be certain you have completed the living will in a way that your wishes will be understood.
  2. A healthcare surrogate designation is a document naming another person as your representative to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. You can include instructions about any treatment you want or do not want, similar to a living will. You can also designate an alternate surrogate.

Once you’ve decided which type of advance directive works best for your needs, the next step is to better understand how to create one of these documents. This will be covered in the third installment of this four-part series.

The Legacy Foundation at Shell Point Retirement Community is not open to the public, but rather serves Shell Point residents by providing fiduciary services, such as benevolent gift administration, charitable gift annuities, power of attorney and personal surrogate services, bill paying, estate and gift planning assistance, and the delivery of enhanced financial management services.

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A Will or a Trust- Which One Is Bet For You?

A  Will or Trust: Which is Best for You?When it comes to deciding whether a will or trust is best for you, it is important to understand your options and which one is most appropriate for your situation.WillA testamentary will (simply referred to as a will) is a legal document used to transfer an estate to beneficiaries after the death of the testator (a male person making the will) or testatrix (a female person making the will). Within the will, the testator or testatrix usually names a personal representative (same as an executor) for the estate. For a will to be valid in Idaho, it must meet specific requirements under Idaho law. Revocable Living TrustsA person, during his or her lifetime, may create a revocable living trust whereby the grantor (the person making the trust), trustee (the person who has legal authority to manage the trust assets) and beneficiary (the person who makes use of the trust assets) are all the same person.  After the grantor dies, depending on the trust instructions, the trust assets may be distributed outright or held within the trust and distributed over time or upon the happening of a designated event. Revocable living trusts may be appropriate for persons who own real property in more than one state or have a blended family where spouses have children from prior relationships.Testamentary Trusts A testamentary trust is a trust within a will. A testamentary trust is created upon the death of a person as specified in his or her will. The testamentary trust holds assets within the trust instead of outright distribution to a beneficiary. A common scenario is when parents create a testamentary trust to hold assets for the support of minor children or for college education for children until they reach a specified age. A testamentary trust can also hold assets for the special needs of a disabled child who receives government benefits. Does Having a Revocable Living Trust Eliminate Probate?To avoid the probate process, all assets must be transferred into the name of the revocable living trust. A common misconception is that a list of assets attached to the trust document accomplishes a transfer to the trust. However, the correct way to transfer assets requires an actual change to the title of assets including a home, certificate of deposits, bank accounts and brokerage accounts. Upon death, any assets titled in the name of an individual, not the trust, will be subject to the probate process. For this reason, when a person creates a revocable living trust, it is best to also create a will, called a pour-over-will, as a safety net to assure that upon death any assets titled in the name of an individual are transferred to the trust and distributed accordingly. In Idaho, generally speaking, the probate process can be quite simple and relatively inexpensive.A New or Updated Estate PlanWhether a will or trust is appropriate for you depends on your circumstances. If you already have a will or trust, it should be reviewed periodically to make sure it reflects your current wishes and needs or upon any significant change in your life such as divorce or death of a spouse or beneficiary. Other important estate planning documents include a general durable power of attorney, living will and durable power of attorney for health care. This article was written by Donna A. Schuyler, Attorney, who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, trust administration, elder law, and guardianship. Donna Schuyler Law, PLLC; www.elderlawboise.com; Phone 208-344-1947

Healthcare Directives

Healthcare Directives are valuable to people in all walks of life. As you read this article, consider obtaining one for yourself.A Healthcare Directive is a tool to designate a health care agent, or someone to make health care decisions on your behalf. It goes into effect upon your inability to make or communicate health care decisions. If you fail to appoint someone to fill this role, the court will appoint a guardian, which may create a costly legal process. If you have Healthcare Directive, you are able to choose the person who will determine what treatments and health care you will receive, including end-of-life or palliative care decisions. Your health care agent makes surrogate decisions, which means that they step in your shoes and make the decisions that you would make on your own if you were able to do so.Ideally, surrogate decisions should be based on your input and the specific preferences you communicated before any loss of decision-making capacity. It should be based on a prior understanding your health care preferences and what you would want under the circumstances. Healthcare Directives are intensely personal documents. When thinking about creating your own, consider:Your values and how they may be reflected in your health care;Your priorities;What life means to you personally; andHow important quality of life is to you.Are there certain conditions that are worse than death to you? Would you undergo a risky procedure if it had a low chance of survival? What if that same procedure had a high chance of survival but would permanently lower your quality of life? How long would you like to be on life support? Its never fun to think about these things, but by selecting a health care agent and informing them of your preferences, you are preparing for the worst-case scenario and ensuring that your wishes will be followed. Clearly, the consequences of having or not having a Healthcare Directive can be huge, which is why we so strongly advocate that everyone, regardless of age or health, have one in their estate plan. Please dont leave your relatives to fumble in the dark if the unthinkable happens and you are unable to make your own health care decisions. Again, while an Healthcare Directive will be helpful to you in the future, you might have an elderly relative who is in need of one right now. So, whether you need one for yourself or for a loved one, contact us today at (385)334-4030 or send an email to info@skvlegal.com to set up your free consultation to determine your specific needs.

Local Services By This Author

Shell Point Retirement Community

Independent Living 13921 Shell Point Plaza, Fort Myers, Florida, 33908

Shell Point: A Lifecare CommunityAt Shell Point, we offer more than just a place to live; we offer a lifestyle. Our community is designed to provide a comfortable and enriching environment for our residents, with a focus on wellness, recreation, social engagement, and spiritual fulfillment. With Lifecare, including assisted living and skilled nursing care if needed, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your needs will be taken care of now and in the future.Lifecare Contracts - A Sound InvestmentWe understand that every individual's needs are unique. That's why we offer a variety of easy-to-understand Lifecare contracts to accommodate different situations and budgets. Our contracts, including refundable options, are designed to take the worry out of retirement planning. When you retire at Shell Point, you can be confident that you'll have the care and support you need, no matter what the future holds.Our ContractsContract A: Includes independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing services, all covered by the same monthly maintenance fee.Contract B: Offers a 15% reduction on the entrance fee and includes independent living with all amenities, plus assisted living and memory care.Contract C: Provides a 100% refund of the entrance fee upon death or cancellation, with guaranteed access to assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing at private pay rates.Plan Your Future with Shell PointOur rate schedule is based on a minimum age of 60 and includes all utilities except phone and internet. Residences are priced according to contract type, location, elevation, and view. Visit us today to learn more about our contracts and find the perfect home for your retirement.

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Assisted Living at The Springs at Waterside at Shell Point offers a premier senior living experience in the heart of Southwest Florida. With 105 private residences, The Springs provides a comfortable and supportive environment for seniors needing assisted living services.Our priority is your health and well-being. Our recreational staff plans daily and weekly events to challenge residents socially, spiritually, educationally, physically, and emotionally. These efforts are designed to support your overall health and happiness.Residents at The Springs enjoy a variety of amenities, including a state-of-the-art media screening room, billiards room, beauty salon, activity and craft rooms, and sunrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. Our full-time activities staff coordinates programs and activities, while the onsite fitness center offers supervised fitness classes.For added peace of mind, The Springs has a dedicated medical staff of physicians skilled in gerontological medicine available 24/7. In addition to medical services, our dining room offers restaurant-style service with daily changing menus, ensuring a pleasant dining experience for residents and their guests.Friends and family are always welcome at The Springs. Residents have private apartments and access to parlors, seating areas, and activity rooms for entertaining guests. Outdoor areas like the covered patio and poolside area offer opportunities to enjoy the Florida sunshine. Transportation is also readily available for shopping, recreational programs, and medical appointments.With medical response by licensed nursing staff 24/7, complimentary WiFi in common areas, assistance with medication administration and management, and other services, The Springs at Waterside at Shell Point provides a comfortable and caring environment for seniors. Contact us at (239) 454-2077 for more information about Assisted Living at Shell Point. Our case managers and moving coordinator are available to assist individuals or families in making the transition to our community seamless and stress-free.