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Care planning important in Texas estate plan

When most people consider the estate planning process, their thoughts immediately go to creating their will, and they may not think about anything more than that. However, there are other options to consider. In some instances, a person may become unable to make medical decisions for him or herself. With no previous care planning, doctors in Texas will turn to family members to make important medical decision.

In some cases, this could leave a family member making decisions that the person would not choose. For example, a relative that the patient has had little contact with in years and knows nothing about the person's wishes could ultimately be the person attempting to make decisions. Fortunately, there are legal remedies that can give a person more say in the medical treatment he or she receives even in the event of incapacitation.

A living will allows a person to express how they want to be treated medically. It can indicate that life-saving measures such as a feeding tube are not wanted or that a person does not wish to be resuscitated. However, perhaps even more important is the durable medical power of attorney, which names the person or persons who will be ultimately tasked with making such decisions. This allows the person creating the document to have frank conversations about the care he or she wishes to receive should he or she become incapacitated.

Perhaps more importantly than considering a durable medical durable power of attorney during care planning is to ensure that those impacted, as well as the person's primary physician, have copies of the documents. Unfortunately, many people in Texas have found themselves in a situation where they must make life-or-death medical decisions without input from the patient. By planning ahead, life-long stress and doubt regarding whether the best decision was made could be eliminated for loved ones.

Source: tylerpaper.com, "Advanced care planning ensures final wishes are carried out", Nov. 4, 2016,

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