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Daughters More Likely to Make Medical Decisions for Parents


Estate planning can be a difficult process for many people across Los Angeles for at least a couple of reasons. First, it can be unpleasant to make plans for the end of your life. Second, it can be too confusing and people may simply never get started because they are overwhelmed.

However, having an estate plan in place can be crucial, and approaching the process with the help of an attorney can make it a little easier to have all the appropriate documents in place. One such document that people will want to consider as a part of an estate plan is a living will. A recent report suggests that having a living will in place and a health care representative identified may dramatically improve the decision-making process when a loved one is too ill to make decisions on his or her own. According to the report, daughters in particular could benefit from a living will.

The report suggests that in about 59 percent of the cases when an elderly patient needs help making a medical decision, the responsibility falls on the patient’s daughter. This is substantially more than the 25 percent of cases when it falls on the son and 21 percent of the time it falls on a patient’s spouse. And many of these daughters, sons, and spouses are finding it to be very challenging to make these decisions.

According to the study, few elderly patients have a living will, also called an advance health care directive, in place. This can make it very difficult for any loved one to make medical decisions on their behalf. Additionally, only about one-quarter of the elderly people involved in the study had named a healthcare representative. This can create some serious confusion for people who do not know if they are supposed to step in and make these decisions.

People can make this process easier on others by having legal documentation in place to provide some direction. Whether a person’s daughter, son or spouse is tasked with these decisions, he or she can be much more confident in making decisions if they know that a person has communicated their care wishes thoroughly and purposefully.

Source: NBC News, “Daughters make more decisions on parents’ care, study finds,” Linda Carroll, Jan. 21, 2014

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