Estate planning involves more than deciding how people want their assets and property distributed upon their deaths. As important as including these types of provisions, people should also include advance care directives in their estate planning.
Through advance care directives, people specify their preferences for the medical treatment and care they would want, even if they cannot speak or make those decisions when the time arrives.
According to the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services, a living will let people voice their wishes regarding emergency and end-of-life medical care, even if they cannot speak for themselves. In these written legal documents, people specify the medical procedures they would or would not want. They also dictate the conditions under which their decisions regarding these treatment types apply. For example, if they would remain unconscious after revival, some people would prefer not to have procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation or defibrillation performed on them.
Power of attorney for health care
According to MayoClinic.org, people may also use health care powers of attorney in their advance care plans. Through such documents, people name another person to make medical-related decisions on their behalf in the event of an incapacitating injury or illness. In the event their other advance care planning documents do not address a situation, the representative named through the health care power of attorney may make choices regarding their likely care wishes.
Without advance care directives in place, important decisions about people’s health care fall to their loved ones, potentially adding to their stress and upset. Through such legal planning, however, people leave guides for their family members to follow, which may make difficult choices slightly easier.