Colorado Probate Blog - Wade Ash Woods Hill & Farley, P.C.

Timeline for Preparing and Updating Wills and Trusts

The law allows a person to sign binding contracts including Wills at age 18, the age when young adults should begin to plan to avoid financial and medical complications in the event of debilitating illness, injury or death.  Wills, Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney, and Advanced Directives are the basic documents that every person should have in place.

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Pregnancy and Advanced Directives

In recent news a Texas man, Erick Munoz, is suing the hospital treating his brain-dead wife for refusing to honor his direction to take her off life support. Marlise Munoz has been on life support since November 26, when her husband found her unconscious in their home. Complicating matters is that Ms. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. Ms. Munoz gave clear instructions that she did not want to remain on any type of artificial life sustaining treatment; however, under Texas law, advanced directives are automatically invalidated if the patient is pregnant. Colorado law takes a different stance on the issue, invalidating advanced directives only when a medical evaluation determines that the fetus is viable. Under the same situation in Colorado, Mr. Munoz would be able to remove his wife from life support. Should the fetus near the gestation of viability, however, Mr. Munoz may have the same issue. The generally accepted limit for fetal viability is 24 weeks gestation and 500 grams, though advances in modern medicine continue to push this limit, opening the doors to a gray area as to the exact gestational age for viability. Important in considering your options, especially in the case of pregnancy, is to execute a living will detailing your wishes and to fully discuss your wishes with your medical agents. For practitioners, it is important to counsel your clients on their options and in the case of a pregnancy or an anticipated pregnancy to alert your clients to the potential invalidation of their advanced directives.

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