When it comes to estate planning in Tennessee, you must fill out two separate forms to have a complete Advance Directive, a legal document that allows you to explicitly detail your end-of-life care before you can no longer make the decision yourself. Those documents are a living will, also known as an advanced care plan, and a durable power of attorney for healthcare.
To view the official advance care plan document for Tennessee, visit the TennCare website.
A living will is a legal document that gives instructions on what to do and not to do if you become incapacitated and are unable to make these decisions. The process of naming an individual to make your health decision is known as the appointment of a health care agent.
It is important to note that in Tennessee, a living will is revocable at any time by the patient regardless of mental state if intentions are effectively communicated to the physician by written revocation that is dated and signed, or if an oral statement is made by the patient to physician.
To be legally recognized, a living will must be completed by a competent adult and signed in the presence of two witnesses who are not related to the declarant. The living will must also be substantially written in the form of §32-11-105.
Durable Power Of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a legal tool that grants a named individual the power to make health care and end-of-life decisions on behalf of the person initiating the agreement.
Also known as the durable power of attorney for health care, the document allows the designated individual, typically a relative or partner, to communicate with doctors and hospital staff should the patient be unable to consent or decline treatment.
In order for a durable power of attorney to be recognized, the document must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary and specifically authorize health care decisions.
Along with the durable power of attorney for health care, there is also the durable general power of attorney. This type of power of attorney does not deal with healthcare matters but rather property and contract rights. The durable general power of attorney has the authority to handle transactions on your behalf regarding property, contracts, and benefits. These financial and decision making transactions may include: paying bills, collecting rents, voting stocks, running a business, buying or selling real estate, or creating the hiring terms for caregivers.
Why Advance Directives Matter In Tennessee Estate Planning
When you are completing estate planning measures, advance directives are just one more step you won’t want to neglect. In order to have a completed advance directive in Tennessee, you need both a living will and durable power of attorney.
Upon completing those forms, be sure to make three copies and give them to the following:
Your primary care provider to put in your medical file.
The person who will make a medical decision for you.
Yourself to put a copy to put with your important papers.
Contact Our Nashville Estate Planning Attorneys if You Need Help with Advance Directives
Don’t let your final moments with your loved ones be filled with fear and pain. In the case where you or a loved one is in need of end-of-life-care, don’t wait till it’s too late. Reach out to our experienced Nashville estate planning lawyers to ensure your final moments are ones of comfort.