A health care directive is a legal statement that discusses your medical preferences if you experience incapacitation and cannot make your own medical decisions. These documents provide guidance for your family and health care professionals if you experience terminal illness, dementia, serious injury or are in a coma.
Although it is unnerving to think about these circumstances, you should include a health care directive in your estate plan for several reasons.
You have a say in the care you want
You can choose the care you want. You understand your pain tolerance and can choose whether to curb it with certain medications. You can also choose whether you want your life prolonged, extending your pain. You have the authority to refuse treatments and procedures that do not help you significantly. You can also choose where you spend your last days, either in the hospital, in hospice care or at home with your loved ones.
Provides peace of mind
You and your family will experience peace of mind because you determine your end-of-life care. No one has to make stressful, daunting decisions about whether you will receive life-saving or machine-based care. In addition, your family will not argue about your care options because you already established your desires. This significantly minimizes stress and increases peace during these difficult times.
You can determine your power of attorney
You can share your feelings and desires with someone you trust to follow them. Your durable power of attorney is your proxy. This individual makes your health care decisions, operating as your representative, agent or surrogate. Make sure you choose someone who will follow your desires.
It only takes one incident or crisis to become incapacitated. Set a plan for your future care through a health care directive and get the medical treatments you desire.