As difficult as it can be to think about the end of your life, have you ever considered how challenging it would be for your loved ones to make medical decisions on your behalf with no clear guidelines? Have you ever thought about who you would want to make important end-of-life care decisions for you? What about the length of time you would want to remain on a life support machine or how you would prefer your pain to be managed? While these questions may be overwhelming, it is important that you consider and prepare for your future health care while you still can.
Many of our clients often ask about the types of documents they need to include in their estate plan. While a last will and testament is a staple component, we want to share three reasons why you should consider including health care documents in your estate plan.
- Help ease the minds of your loved ones.
Illnesses and injuries can take an emotional toll on your close friends and family. In addition, neglecting to leave clear instructions about the type of medical care you wish to receive can be just as emotionally draining. Creating a living will can help ease this burden. This type of planning document allows you to provide a set of detailed instructions and designate a healthcare agent to make those decisions on your behalf. It is important to appoint a loved one you trust implicitly as your health care agent, to ensure you feel comfortable with who is making your end-of-life care decisions.
- Prevent unnecessary medical treatment.
Did you know that medical professionals are legally obligated to abide by the instructions dictated in a living will? This is one of the main benefits of including this document in your estate plan. You can be confident that your wishes for your medical and end-of-life care will be followed. Be as specific as possible when you are writing the provisions of your living will, this will help ensure you will not be subjected to any medical treatments you do not wish to undergo.
- Have control over your future medical care.
One of the primary benefits of creating health care documents is the flexibility they provide you as the creator of the document. You retain complete control to update, add, or remove any provisions in these planning tools until you are unable to do so. As circumstances change throughout your life, you also have the power to work with your attorney to change your choice and appoint someone else to be your health care agent.
We know there are many things to consider when preparing your estate plan and we want you to think through your planning options carefully. After reading this article, do you feel ready to add health care documents to your estate plan? Do you have questions? Do not wait to contact our office and schedule a meeting with Attorney Beth Prather.