·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Los Angeles Estate Planning Lawyers Explain Estate Matters and End-of-Life Care

— April 17, 2023

Estate planning lawyers draft essential documentation, sometimes called a medical directive or advance directive, regarding health care and power of attorney.

Estate planning is a process where a person contemplates how their assets and belongings will be liquidated upon their death and how their health issues will be addressed during end-of-life care if they suffer a long-term illness or an acute situation where death will result. Many individuals do not think of this activity unless they have a large estate, a family, or are concerned with aging and sickness.  Because accidents and unexpected death occur randomly, everyone should take the time to put their affairs in order, in the event they become incapacitated and cannot speak for themselves, or they die.  California estate planning lawyers can assist with the drafting of relevant documents and provide guidance for individuals as they prepare estate plans.   

Estate plan

Estate plans usually include: 

  • A last will and testament, with guardianship if there are minor children, 
  • an advance healthcare directive, and  
  • a durable power of attorney.

Purpose of a will

A Last Will and Testament is important for the purposes of explaining where and how an individual would like their assets divided, debts resolved and end of life issues outlined because they are very personal matters. Experienced Los Angeles estate planning lawyers guide clients to make sure a will contains the legally necessary language so a person’s wishes can be honored at the time of their death according to California and federal laws. 

Wills must be prepared properly, signed, witnessed, and notarized according to California law. Key provisions of a will usually include naming the testator, identifying the document as a last will, appointing an executor, outlining the distribution of assets and any provisions to pay for estate expenses and taxes. This document will ensure a smooth transfer of assets, attention to any perceived tax burdens, and care of surviving dependents as well as end-of-life care plans. Estate planning documents should be reviewed periodically to address any changes in state and federal laws, and updates to individuals named in the documents, accounting for death or estrangement.   

End of life care

Nonprofit Hospital System Earnings Far Outweigh Community Benefits
Photo by Erkan Utu from Pexels

While there are several types of wills, there is one that has the distinction of care while a person is alive, referred to as the Living Will which addresses common end-of-life care decisions outlined in a living will including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, antibiotic and antiviral therapies, comfort care and donations of organs, tissues, or whole body for scientific study. Consultation with a lawyer is important to understand the distinction between “Do not resuscitate/intubate” and a formal will. An individual does not need to have an advance directive, or living will to have do not resuscitate (DNR) and do not intubate (DNI) orders. To establish DNR or DNI orders, inform a doctor about these preferences so they can write an order and keep it as part of a medical record.  

Advance directives

Estate planning lawyers draft essential documentation, sometimes called a medical directive or advance directive, to cover an individual, or family members regarding medical power of attorney and do not resuscitate orders. Consultation with tax lawyers  is also a prudent decision so they can review estate planning documents and explain how tax burdens will be handled.




Join the conversation!