By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In an ideal world you would have your estate planning done when you can truly think about the things that you want to accomplish and do. In other words, you don’t have to rush to get it done. However, we often find that life is not ideal. In other words, sometimes emergencies come up and things need to be taken care of quickly in order to make sure that they are done right.

A medical emergency is one of those situations. You often can’t plan for these types of things, but if you have been thoughtful, hopefully you are ready.

The estate planning documents that should and could help you through your medical emergencies include the durable power of attorney, a living will, and the power of attorney for health care.

The durable power of attorney is a document that you can use to name an agent who will take care of your property and finances if you are unable to do this yourself. I call this the global power of attorney because it covers absolutely everything in your life except healthcare, which is covered by a separate document we will discuss below. With the durable power of attorney, you have named an individual who can step into your shoes and do the same things for you that you normally do for yourself. When it comes to estate planning this is perhaps the most important document you can have.

Likewise, the health care power-of-attorney also allows you to name an agent, but this individual is limited only to making healthcare and medical decisions for you. These would include the doctors that you see, the medicines that you take, and the medical procedures that you receive. Again, this agent only has this power if you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.

Finally, the living will is a document where if you are in a terminal condition, because of an injury or illness, you are unable to communicate with your doctors, and your death is imminent, you can leave specific instructions about what you do want and what you do not want your healthcare providers to do for you. You can choose to tell the healthcare providers to pull the plug and allow you to die naturally and normally. Alternatively, you can instruct them to put you on every machine and to do everything they can to keep you alive as long as possible. The key is that you are in control of making the decision now while you are healthy so that your family is not left making that decision later.

We all hope that we are never in a medical emergency. However, life is uncertain, and it is far better to be prepared with a plan that isn’t needed, than to need a plan that doesn’t exist. For this reason, we encourage you to download our free Estate Planning Questionnaire to help you get started with your own estate planning. We also encourage you to schedule our free 30-minute consultation where we can answer your questions and help you decide what is needed for your own customized estate plan.


If you have any questions about your estate or how to simplify your plans for your family and loved ones, we can help.  Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Pocatello. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems. I have helped numerous clients create their own customized estate plans and I’m confident that I can help you too.

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