An Advance Health Care Directive, also known as a Living Will or Advance Directive — not “Advanced Directive“, as this implies that it is a complicated estate planning tool — is a way to express your health care desires in the event that you are incapacitated.
Most commonly, a living will specifies whether you want your life prolonged by artificial means, such as with breathing apparatuses or feeding tubes. The advance directive may either be general, such as stating that no artificial means should be employed if the physician determines that your condition is terminal, or more specific, describing exact procedures you authorize in particular circumstances. For instance, you might wish to approve the use of pain relievers and antibiotics while also restricting the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
If you have minor children, an important aspect of your estate plan will be selecting a guardian or guardians to take custody of your children after your death. Selecting a guardian can be difficult, and you and your parter (and attorney if possible) should deeply discuss all possible options before making a decision.
When selecting the individual who will take guardianship of your children, there are a few things you should consider.
Though no one likes to think about ones own mortality, it is important for same-sex couples to do some advance planning in the event of their death or incapacitation. Those couples living in states that no not permit marriage — or do not offer civil unions or domestic partnerships that include inheritance rights — especially need a will. Keep in mind that when there is no legal recognition of same-sex unions, gays and lesbians are often left with nothing upon the death of their partner. To avoid losing your home, your personal belongs, and, in some cases, your children, ensure that both you and your partner begin the estate planning process as soon as possible.