Proy Law Firm - Carroll County, Maryland Small Business and Estate Lawyer Nicholas Proy

Proy Law Firm
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Finksburg, Maryland 21048

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Main Page >> Practice Areas >> Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning >> Living Wills, Declarations and Advance Directives


Living Wills, Declarations and Advance Directives


Living wills, declarations and advance directives all refer to the same document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care in the event they are unable to communicate their decision. In other words, this is one document that is often referenced by three different names: "living will" because it is a documented intention of an invidual while they are still alive; "declaration" because the individual is declarating their end-of-life decision; and "advance directive" because the individual is providing advance medical directives. For simplicity, I will refer to these as "advance directives".


An advance directive is often an overlooked piece of the estate planning puzzle because so much emphasis is placed on wills and trusts, which are still very important. Advance directives go hand-in-hand with your medical or healthcare power of attorney because they are documents that will affect you while you are still living.


Common Mistakes with Living Wills, Declarations and Advance Directives:

(1) The number one mistake with living wills, declarations and advance directives is failing to include them in an estate plan. A proper estate plan will incorporate, at a minimum, a will, financial power of attorney, medical or healthcare power of attorney, and advance directives. We offer emergency and urgent estate planning services if necessary.


(2) Some individuals fail to properly execute their advance directives. Both Maryland and Pennsylvania have specific requirements for the proper execution of advance directives. If these requirements are not met, the document may not be legally sufficient.


(3) Sometimes someone will sign advance directives, then fail to appropriately distribute the document. Once advance directives are signed, copies should be given to healthcare providers to place in your medical files.



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