Health Care Surrogate and Living Will

Many people have signed a Designation of Health Care Surrogate (also known as a Health Care Power of Attorney) and a Living Will which designate their spouse as the person to make their health related decisions, including the decision to "pull the plug" in the event of a terminal illness. In most states if you have not designated someone in writing to make your health-related decisions, your spouse is automatically appointed to make those decisions. If you are in the throes of a bitter divorce, do you really want you estranged spouse deciding whether you live or die? If you no longer wish your spouse to have control over those decisions, you should immediately execute a new Designation of Health Care Surrogate and, if applicable, a Living Will. You should consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to make sure your designation of health care surrogate and living will comply with your state s laws.



Suggested Reading
Divorce & Money: How to Make the Best Financial Decisions
This book is a practical guide to evaluating assets during divorce. It explains how to determine the real value of marital property including houses, businesses, retirement plans and investments and how to negotiate a settlement that is fair to both sides.

Authors: Violet Woodhouse & Dale Fetherling


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BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS -- Following a divorce, the beneficiary designations for the following financial instruments should be amended unless the client chooses to leave everything to his/her ex-spouse: 1) Employer retirement plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), life insurance, annuities, health savings accounts; 2) Transfer on Death (TOD) investment accounts;
 3) Payable on Death (POD) bank accounts; 
4) wills
; 5) health care powers of attorney and living wills; 6) powers of attorney;
 7) revocable trusts; 8) advanced estate planning structures such as irrevocable trusts.

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