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Planning with ALS

Were you just diagnosed with Amyotrophic Laterals Sclerosis?

I am sorry.

I am sure your head has been swimming trying to process the changes in your body.

Were you glad to finally get a diagnosis, but then devastated with the prognosis?

I hear it is a lot to process in a short time; for you and your family. I am no expert on the medical side, but I can help clarify what legal documents can make this process smoother.

A well-executed estate plan will be a good friend to you and your family over the next few years.

An estate plan contains several documents.

First, you will want to consider a HIPAA release. This document will allow the loved ones you choose to be able to communicate with your physicians. It doesn’t allow them to make decisions for you, just allows them to know what is going on.

Second, you will need powers of attorney. Powers of attorney allow you to appoint agents that can assist you in making medical and financial decisions if you are not able to do so. It allows you to choose ahead of time who you want to help you with your care.

Then there are the medical directives. It is never easy to talk about end of life treatment. It is hard to plan for that time. We understand that. A medical directive will allow to you elect if you wish to receive or not receive certain methods of medical treatment, such as life support or other life sustaining treatment. Executing these documents in advance will allow your medical wishes to be clear and concise when the time comes and ease the burden to your family.

Then there is the Last Will and Testament. This is the document most people think of when they hear estate plan. This document allows a person to decide who gets what. This document will minimize the time your family will have to deal with courts and legal fees. This is a loving gift you can provide your family. A simple Will and or Living Trust is the way to ensure that your loved ones receive their inheritance in a peaceful transition.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important document, is the appointment for guardian for children. This document lets you choose who will care for your babies. We know how difficult it is to choose this person, after all, it is supposed to be you. But, in the event it can’t be, this document gives a seamless transition for your kids when the time comes.

As difficult as it is to ponder who should take on these jobs, creating these documents will create security and peace in your family.