Planning for the future now helps ensure that you’ll be able to receive the type of care you want in the future. If an event leaves you unable to decide for yourself, you’ll be at the mercy of someone else’s decisions unless you have a living will in Tennessee.
When it comes to estate planning in Tennessee, you must fill out two separate forms to have a complete Advance Directive. This legal document 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 advanced care plans, and a durable power of attorney for healthcare.
To view the official advance care plan document for Tennessee, visit the TennCare website.
Living Will in Tennessee
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 picking an individual to make your health decision is known as the appointment of a health care agent. In your living will, you may include:
- Life-Prolonging Medical Care
- Do Not Resuscitate
- Palliative Care
It is important to note that a living will in Tennessee is revocable at any time by the patient. This can be done if one’s intentions are effectively communicated to the physician by written revocation, both dated and signed, or if the patient makes an oral statement to the physician.
To be legally recognized, a living will must be completed and signed by a competent adult. It must also be in the presence of two witnesses who are not related to the declarant. The Tennessee living will also be substantially written in the form of §32-11-105.
Durable Power Of Attorney in Tennessee
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.
This is also known as the durable power of attorney for health care. This document allows the designated individual to communicate with doctors and hospital staff should the patient be unable to consent or decline treatment. This person is typically a relative or partner.
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. A durable general power of attorney in Tennessee 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
- Creating the hiring terms for caregivers
If you become incapacitated without a durable general power of attorney, your family may have to declare you incompetent in court before they are able to handle finances on your behalf. Hence, it’s better to appoint one to save them any trouble down the line.
Why Advance Directives Matter In Tennessee Estate Planning
When you complete estate planning measures, advance directives are just one more step you won’t want to neglect. To have a completed Tennessee advance directive, you need both a living will in Tennessee 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 for your medical file
- The person who will make medical decisions for you.
- Yourself, so you can put a copy to put with your important papers.
Remember that Tennessee advance directives are only implemented if you are in a life-threatening medical situation and need special emergency measures to stay alive. It allows you to express your wishes about medical treatment when are unable to communicate.