Archive for November, 2017

Kansas City Elder Law Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions about Health Care Advance Directives

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

The goal of an elder law attorney is to help meet the needs of older persons. One such need is advance care planning. Advance care planning is a term that refers to setting in place goals and plans concerning an individual’s medical care and treatments. While many people do not start to think about advance care planning until they are near retirement age, the process can begin at any point in a person’s life. Advanced care planning usually starts with conversations between the individual and his or her family and doctors. Health care advance directives are one way individuals can make their healthcare wishes known. An advance directive is simply a document that provides instructions about a person’s health care wishes, or that appoints a specific person to make decisions on one’s behalf if or when the person is no longer able to do so. While advance directives are great tools that does not mean that they are well understood. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about health care advance directives:

Does an advance directive simply mean “do not treat”?

No! The purpose of an advance directive is to specify which treatments or steps that you want taken in addition to those that you want. For example, an elderly patient with an advanced stage illness may not want treatment but should be given palliative care. Palliative care is medical care that is focused on keeping the person comfortable and pain-free.

I am only ___ years old, am I too young to consider an advance directive?

No! While it is true that older adults utilize advance directives more than younger adults, every adult can benefit from having an advance directive. In fact, younger adults often have more at stake. For example, if a younger adult is involved in a serious accident, leaving him or her in a vegetative state, current medical technology could keep him or her “alive” for decades. Younger adults should consider an advance directive or at least appoint a proxy decision-maker.

Can I rest easy once I give a copy of my advance directive to my doctor?

No! In fact, the process has just begun. First, it is important to discuss your advance directive with your doctor to make sure that he or she supports and understands your wishes. Also be sure that you understand from your doctor your health options. Next, be aware that if you transfer doctors or healthcare facilities, your directive will likely not follow you. It is your job or that of your proxy to be sure that each facility and doctor is made aware of any advance directives. You will also want to review your directive if you experience any of the following: (1) death of a loved one; (2) divorce; (3) a new diagnosis or medical condition; (4) decline in medical condition; or (5) reach a new decade in age.

Part of responsible estate planning should always include a living will and an advanced directive. If you or your loved has not made his or her wishes official, consider making an appointment to discuss your options with an experienced Kansas City Elder Law Attorney. The Kansas City Elder Law Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. have helped countless individuals create estate plans, advanced directives, and living wills. Our attorneys assist clients in both Kansas and Missouri. To find out how the attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. can help you, contact our office at (816) 472-4673 to schedule a consultation. At Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. we will take the time to make sure that you understand your options and that your wishes are met.

Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys Offer Six Tips to Prevent Your Christmas Tree from Going Up in Smoke

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Christmas trees are like snowflakes—no two are alike. Each family has their own unique ideas and traditions when it comes to tree trimmings. Some people adorn their tree with homemade ornaments and strings of popcorn and cranberries, while others use beautiful glass ornaments and garland. No matter how you choose to decorate your tree, it is important that your tree does not become a fire hazard.

The good news is that Christmas tree fires are not terribly common. However, when Christmas tree fires do occur, they can result in serious injuries and deaths. In January 2015, a massive fire in a Maryland home claimed the lives of six people. The cause of the fire was linked to the lights on the family’s 15-foot parched Christmas tree. The fire was so intense that the mansion was engulfed in a matter of minutes. Most people are not aware that a dry Christmas tree is more flammable than a newspaper.

How can you prevent your tree from ruining more than just Christmas? Follow these tips to keep your home and your family safe:

  1. Choose a tree that is fresh. When selecting a real Christmas tree, be sure to choose one that is fresh. A fresh tree will have green needles, not brown and will not lose many needles when shaken firmly. According to the American Christmas Tree Association, a fresh Christmas tree is less likely to catch fire.
  2. Water, water, water. To keep your tree from drying out, it is important to keep it watered at all times. Even a medium sized tree can take up a gallon of water a day.
  3. Keep your tree away from heat sources. Never place a tree next to a fireplace, radiator or heat vent. Always keep your tree at least three feet from a heat source.
  4. Check the lights. Before putting lights on your Christmas tree check the quality of the lights. Old lights with faulty wiring, broken bulbs or that in poor condition can cause a fire. It is also important not to string more than three sets of mini-string sets together. Lastly, check to make sure your lights are flame-retardant.
  5. Unplug the lights when you leave. Do not leave tree lights plugged in when you are not home or while everyone is asleep.
  6. Do not bring your tree into the New Year. After the holiday is over, people tend to delay taking down the tree. The tree sits and becomes neglected. After not being watered regularly, the tree dries out. That is why it is not surprising that so many tree fires tend to happen in Do your family a favor and toss the tree quickly after the holiday or as soon as you start to see the tree dropping needles—a sure sign that is dried out. A well-cared-for Christmas tree can expect to last four to six weeks at most.

If you or a loved one suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of another, it is important to know that you may have legal recourse. The attorneys at the Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. have helped countless injury victims, in both Kansas and Missouri, obtain just compensation for their injuries. Our caring team of attorneys will take the time to listen to you and the facts of your case. To schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys, contact Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. today at (816) 472-4673. We look forward to helping you obtain the justice you deserve.