Why are Advance Directives Important?

April 21, 2020

When a loved one passes away, it can be very difficult to decide what to do with their body if it is not directly stated in an advance directive. Without an advance directive, those who are in charge of the estate of the deceased will have to determine which course of action to take with the body. If a decision is not made within a timely manner, the case will be designated to the medical examiner or the court system.

In Long Island, New York, a family has been arguing over what to do with their mother’s body for many years. This feud started when the mother did not have an advance directive set up when she passed away. Now, one sibling wants her body buried, whereas the other wants her body cremated without donating organs because of their Jewish faith.

Many problems arise when a family member dies without any indication of what they wanted done with their body. Arguments can become especially heated when a loved one states what the deceased wanted with their body without a written decree. This could create a dispute between family members, especially if religion is involved. If a court must make the final decisions, one side of the family will be left disappointed and angry if they decide to go with an opposite viewpoint.

Importance of an Advance Directive

An advance directive can help avoid arguments and provide the deceased’s last wishes. The most common advance directives are a living will and a power of attorney. A living will is a document that states future health care decisions when a person is unable to make choices on their own. A power of attorney names someone else as a proxy to make your health decisions if you are unable to do so yourself. A physician must certify that the person is unable to make their own medical decisions before the proxy steps in.

It is important to hire an attorney to prepare your advance directives to ensure that every step is accounted for. In sudden medical situations, an advance directive will help loved ones and medical professionals make decisions based on what the patient wanted. These types of documents ensure that your health care wishes are carried out and in place for when you are unable to make decisions on your own.

Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Will Help You Plan for Your Future

If you need an estate planning lawyer to help with your advance directives, contact the Brooklyn elder law attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP. We are skilled in estate planning litigation and will keep you updated in all aspects of your case. Call us today at 212-495-8133 or contact us online for an initial consultation. We provide legal counsel to clients throughout New York and New Jersey from our offices in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Lakewood, New Jersey.