Did you know that health care directives can be critical estate planning documents that are often overlooked in comparison to other planning items like a last will and testament? It can be important, however, to make health care directives part of your overall estate planning strategy. These documents can impact your life tremendously, if you are ever critically ill or in an accident, or when it comes to your end-of-life care. Let us learn more about different types of health care documents in your estate plan and why an advance health care directive may be important for you.
An advanced health care directive is a document that lays out what you would want to happen in the event of different types of medical issues occurring. The most common type of advance directives include a living will and a health care surrogate. A living will can detail your end of life care preferences. For example, you might indicate how you would want to be treated if you are deemed unlikely to survive without a life-saving device, or whether you would want to be resuscitated if your heart stops or your lungs stop working. If you do not make your wishes known, physicians may have no choice but to take certain measures to prolong your life to the longest possible extent, even if you do not have a chance of returning to health, and even if it is not what you would really want.
When you put a health care surrogate in place, you decide who you want to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to decide or express your decision for yourself. You name an agent to make decisions for you and this is your health care surrogate. You may choose your spouse or an adult child or other relative as your health care surrogate. You should also consider, however, making a second and even a third choice, in the event the person you choose is no longer available. This can be especially important if you name your spouse, and you are of similar ages.
To put a comprehensive estate plan in place that includes health care directives, our office is here to help. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.