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POLST could accompany advance directives in New Jersey

A new tool for people to plan their wishes will soon be available. A piece of legislation will help people in New Jersey establish Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment or POLST, which can accompany a living will, otherwise known as an advance directive. The idea behind the POLST is to make a physician's order which must be followed. This can often accompany an advance directive in order to ensure the patient's wishes are followed.

While the final form for the POLST has not yet been finalized, it may help some people in the near future to carry out their estate planning needs, which might include end-of-life care. Many people prefer not to talk about the end of their life, but knowing that your wishes will be followed regarding the type of care you receive near the end of your life can bring great peace of mind to you and your family.

POLST is a doctor's order that can be followed even by emergency care personnel. Creating another document means patients must speak with their doctors about their wishes. This helps eliminate confusion as to the patient's wishes and can help family members by allowing them to know that the patient and doctor both discussed the issues well before anything might happen that prompts the use of this document.

This document doesn't replace advance directives, but it compliments other estate planning documents. Speaking with an estate planning attorney about advance directives in New Jersey can help you understand what is accomplished with different estate planning documents.

Source: Patch, "How Do You Guide Your End-of-Life Medical Care?," June 20, 2012

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