A comprehensive approach to estate planning may benefit from several documents, and one of them is an advance directive. In this document, you will state your wishes regarding medical decisions in the event of incapacity.
Below are two things that you’ll want to include in your advance directive to better ensure that your needs and wishes are properly honored should something happen to you.
A living will
A living will is a legal document that describes the medical treatments you would or would not want to be administered. This document also defines your preferences for other medical decisions, such as organ/tissue donation, tube feeding and so on. Generally, it states what can be done to keep you alive and any boundaries that should not be crossed.
A healthcare power of attorney
A healthcare power of attorney or healthcare proxy is a legal document that names the party who will ensure your medical wishes (listed in your living will) are fulfilled and who can make any additional medical decisions on your behalf. Before your chosen party assumes their duty, a doctor will confirm that you can’t make medical decisions for yourself.
Who should you name in your healthcare proxy?
You should choose someone whom you trust will observe your wishes and make decisions in your best interest. Further, they should understand your health condition and possibly your medical history. Choosing someone courageous who will ask the right questions is also beneficial.
You should meet with your chosen party before formally naming them to better ensure that they understand their role and your wishes. Note that you don’t necessarily have to pick a family member, you can choose a friend, healthcare provider or attorney, provided the party has your non-negotiable qualities.
Finally, keep in mind that you don’t have to draft these documents on your own. Seeking legal guidance can help to ensure that they’re compliant with state law and truly reflect your interests.