While it is technically not an Estate Planning Document, we feel that Health Care Surrogates are the most important related document and individual can have. It is more important than a Will, Trust, Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney. A Will only comes into effect when your are dead. A Testamentary Trust usually only come into effect when you are dead or incapacitated. A Living Will only comes into effect when you are severely incapacitated. A Durable Power of Attorney is only control over assets.
A Health Care Surrogate, however, often comes into effect when you are only temporarily incapacitated. If you get are unable to tell the doctors what exact treatment you want because a complication arose during surgery, or because you are injured, your surrogate can direct the treatment as s/he knows you would want. This document therefore effects your here and now, your current and future quality of life. That is why we find it to be the most important document.
It is a confusing issue which our counsel can help you determine what is right for you and draft. This document is for you, and your wishes. You should never go into surgery of any magnitude, planned or not, optional or not, without a well thought out health care surrogate available.
And when you are considering making a Health Care Surrogate, you also may want to consider the documents referenced above, or one of many other related documents, besides a Will and/or Trust. Only a studied review from an attorney can discuss these matters with you and assist you in the proper series of documents that will best fit your estate planning needs.