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How can you plan for medical care if you become incapacitated?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2024 | Living Will |

Planning for the unexpected, especially regarding your health, is a thoughtful and responsible action. It ensures that your preferences for medical care are known and followed if you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes.

Two essential tools in this planning process are a power of attorney for health care and advance directives. Understanding these instruments and how they function is crucial for anyone looking to secure their healthcare-related future.

Power of attorney for health care

A power of attorney for health care is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. This person becomes responsible for making decisions that align with your preferences. Choosing someone you trust and who understands your values and wishes is essential. The appointed agent should also be willing and able to make potentially difficult decisions under stressful circumstances.

Advance directives

Advance directives are legal documents that outline your preferences for medical care if you’re incapacitated. They guide your health care choices, ensuring your wishes are respected. Different types of advance directives exist, including living wills and health care declarations.

A living will, for example, specifies your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments in situations such as terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness. It’s crucial for guiding your health care proxy and medical professionals in making decisions that align with your values and desires.

The importance of communication

After preparing these documents, you must communicate your wishes to your health care agent, family members and primary care physician. Ensuring that your appointed agent and loved ones understand your preferences helps avoid confusion and conflict during difficult times. Keep copies of these documents accessible to your agent and health care providers.

Remember, these tools are only part of a comprehensive estate plan. Ensuring that you have everything in order for your loved ones can give you peace of mind and help to make the days after your incapacitation or death easier for them. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.


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