J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Save money and protect vital interests with a living will

While many Florida residents may be swept up in the politics surrounding the Affordable Care Act, there are actions independent of anything involving health care reform that individuals can focus on to decrease health care costs in their lives. One way to do this is to complete a medical power of attorney and a living will. Not only can these documents help to potentially lower health care costs, they also have the potential to improve the quality of life for those who are dying.

As a preliminary matter, it is probably helpful to understand what a living will entails. While the word "will" may have many thinking of the document that outlines how assets are to be distributed among beneficiaries, a living will actually has nothing to do with this.

Instead, a living will outlines the kind of health care a person does or does not wish to receive should he or she fall into a state in which he or she is unable to make such decisions. Not only can this potentially save money, it also gives families peace of mind as they do not have to make these decisions in an emotionally trying time.

A medical power of attorney is often lumped together with the living will. The medical power of attorney nominates the person who will make decide important questions of medical care should the person be unable to do so. As with the living will, these matters should be carefully considered, and the person who is to be empowered by the medical power of attorney should be a person who is trusted. By completing these documents, Florida residents and their families can achieve a peace of mind about certain health care matters.

Source: Coloradoan, "Soapbox: Living will, medical power of attorney save money, family conflict," Peter Fine, Feb. 9, 2014

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