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A wrinkle in estate planning that yields some concern

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2016 | Powers of Attorney

Perhaps your rapidly aging mom or dad finally got on board regarding the sensible proposal that important aspects of estate planning be candidly addressed and purposefully dealt with. Indeed, your parent might have been hinting at a desire to closely focus on administration matters for some time before finally acting to move forward and foster some peace and certainty regarding those matters.

And so (let’s just go with your mother here), mom finally acted — by talking with a nurse during a physical exam.

For 30 minutes.

And then acting on the advice she heard to take critically important steps regarding end-of-life decisions, legal documents, various powers of attorney and other matters.

Does there seem anything just a bit unusual or even flatly illogical and discomfiting with that scenario?

Some people are understandably voicing concern with any such estate planning-based communication between a medical professional and aged person, including central insiders such as doctors themselves.

And the debate surrounding the subject is growing, given recently enacted Medicare legislation that pays medical providers for engaging in such discussions with select patients.

It hardly seems remiss to point out that doctors are, well, doctors, trained to practice medicine and not law in a highly specialized and technical field.

In fact, the patent discomfort of many doctors regarding the Medicare option is evidenced by data from the American Medical Association indicating that relatively few MDs opt to speak with patients on estate-related matters.

“The perception that lack of training could be a major stumbling block to the greater implementation of advance care planning is widely shared,’ notes one lecturer on public health.

Concededly, it hardly seems farfetched for trusted doctors to at least initially raise such matters with aging patients.

Does it not then seem logical, though, for any patient showing a desire to think about and act upon them to follow though by having a consultation with a trained and proven estate planning attorney well versed in elder law matters?


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