A recent government study found that African Americans were less likely to have advance directives.  The National Center for Health Statistics looked at three groups of long-term care patients and found that 65% of those in nursing homes had advance directives such as living wills and do-not-resuscitate orders, as did 88% in hospice settings and 28% in home health care.  The study revealed that blacks were less likely than whites to have an advance directive in all three groups. They were only half as likely in home health care and nursing homes.  In addition, people under age 65 were less likely to have directives than those 85 and older.  Health and long-term care expert William McAuley speculates that the discrepancy among whites and blacks is because of the discrimination African-Americans have faced from the medical profession in the past.  Full article:  USA Today.

A Living Will is a written statement that expresses your desires with regard to health care treatment if you become mentally incapable and/or physically incapable of expressing those desires. It may include instructions concerning the termination of life support.  A Health Care Proxy is a document which allows you to designate a person to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself.  These decisions can involve the management of your health care in order to keep you healthy.  These decisions can also involve the termination of life support.  It is important to consider these documents when planning your estate.  Regardless of race or color, people must plan for the future.  Included in planning should be making sure there is someone who will speak on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated.  A living will and healthcare power of attorney allows you to ensure your wishes will be carried out.

The attorneys at Leeds, Morelli & Brown, P.C. have worked with a variety of families in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island.  For questions regarding estate planning, please contact an attorney at the Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C. law firm for a free consultation at 1-888-556-2529 or visit the firm’s website at www.lbestatelaw.com.