The Importance of Healthcare Directives
Having an estate plan in place is one of the best ways to plan for the uncertainties of life, particularly if you have specific intentions for your financial legacy and how it will be left to your heirs. However, another aspect of estate planning that’s easily overlooked is healthcare directives, which may apply during your lifetime. These directives could have a significant impact on the care you receive during a health crisis like the one that has unfortunately become so prevalent in recent days and is something every person should consider in their estate plan.
Setting a healthcare directive is part of the estate planning process, and something an estate attorney can help you with should you choose to engage with one. An advance directive is a document drawn up by an attorney that dictates how you want medical decisions to be handled in the future. It may contain provisions for healthcare or medical power of attorney, which gives someone else the ability to make decisions regarding your medical care should you become incapacitated. The document may also contain your preferences for life support procedures and end of life care.
Additionally, estate documents can help ensure that should you pass, the care and burial of your body will be conducted in the manner that you wish. Without proper documentation, it may be unclear who should be in charge of your funeral preparations. If you were hoping to donate your organs, you should also note your intentions during this process.
While these decisions may be challenging to think about, it’s also worth considering the alternative. Without having the necessary documentation in place, medical care decisions in a crisis may end up in the hands of a committee of doctors should something happen to you. I find it often helpful when conducting estate planning to focus on your loved ones and consider what their experience would be should you pass. How best can you help ensure that they’re able to not only carry out your wishes but also process and grieve with as little stress as possible? Taking the time to document your wishes in the proper legal formats can go a long way in ensuring that you can face the uncertainty of this crisis knowing that your financial legacy and medical decisions will be carried out as you intended.