Estate planning is no one’s favorite subject, but it is a valuable way to make sure a person’s wishes can continue after his or her death. Bequests to individuals, organizations and charitable foundations can avoid unnecessary tax payments or probate disagreements with the proper attention.
With modern medicine able to keep a person’s body alive past a chronic loss of consciousness, a new aspect of estate planning may include provisions for after a person falls into a vegetative state. It is difficult to know a person’s choices without communication, and non-communicative chronic states make obtaining this knowledge impossible.
A durable power of attorney provides the ability to let an appointed representative make decisions on a person’s behalf if that person is unable to make their own decisions. The appointment of a health care representative specifies these powers in regards to medical care after a permanent or chronic loss of consciousness.
A health care representative can consent to treatment or refuse treatment, such as continued maintenance of life support systems. The two main exceptions to this power involve treatments designed to maintain the patient’s physical comfort or situations where a patient is pregnant with a live child.
This “living will” arrangement and any other estate documents must be executed with witnesses, none of whom may be the designated representative. The services of an attorney are highly recommended to verify all requirements of estate documents and make sure the patient’s wishes are accurately recorded. A lawyer may also be able to transport out-of-state powers of attorney to Connecticut for the purposes of a person’s movement to or treatment in the state.
Source: FindLaw, “Connecticut Durable Power of Attorney Laws,” accessed Jan. 04, 2018