Which types of advance directives should be in your estate plan?
One of your main goals for your estate planning strategy is to care for and support your loved ones in the future. Through the distribution of assets and careful planning, you can provide for them and leave a legacy that will benefit the generations that come after you. In addition to financial benefits, you can also take steps that will release your loved ones from having to make difficult and critical decisions on your behalf in case of incapacitation.
While no one ever expects to be unable to speak, make decisions or express wishes, it is prudent to plan for the possibility of incapacitation in the future. Advance directives give you the opportunity to outline your preferences for matters pertaining to certain health care needs, and medical preferences in case of injury or illness. These documents can clearly express your wishes, removing the burden of this responsibility from your loved ones.
Deciding on medical directives
Considering your potential medical needs during a serious illness is not a pleasant thought, and you may put off the task of drafting these documents for that reason. However, life is unpredictable, and planning now can give you peace of mind regarding possible contingencies. Some important medical and health-related directives that could be beneficial additions to your estate plan include:
- Living will – A living will is a document used when a person is no longer able to speak for himself or herself. It outlines preferences for medical treatment, including conditions in which one would want measures that would prolong life.
- Medical power of attorney – This document names a specific person to act as your agent in case of your incapacitation. Your proxy would make decisions on matters not specifically outlined in the living will.
There are also orders that outline your preferences regarding resuscitation or other measures physicians can initiate that would prolong your life in an emergency or end-of-life scenario.
Protecting your loved ones
Having these documents in place is an act of love for your family. By making your preferences very clear, they will not have to make difficult decisions on your behalf, possibly going against your wishes. When it comes to your health care, you have the right to have the final say. By creating advance medical directives, you can protect your family and feel confident about the future.