If you’re doing your estate planning, you’re probably considering how you want your future medical decisions to be made. Perhaps you’ve already had some sort of a medical emergency, such as a stroke, or maybe you’re just thinking about what could happen in the future.
Either way, there are two general tactics that you can use to plan for your medical needs. It’s important to understand how they work and some of the pros and cons of both tactics. Always make sure that you consider your unique situation to determine what legal options are best for you and your family.
Listing your decisions
The first choice is to use the advance directive to simply list decisions that you’ve already made. For example, some people do not want to be kept on life support. Others do not want to receive care that could lead to resuscitation if they stop breathing or if their heart stops. If there are medical decisions that you’ve already made for yourself, you can list them here so that your family understands what you would have wanted. You may be incapacitated due to the medical event that puts you in the hospital, but your family can turn to this document to get guidance from you directly.
Choosing an agent
Another option is to use a medical power of attorney. When you do this, you select someone to be your agent and make the medical decisions for you. This isn’t about deciding what you want or what you don’t want. Instead, you’re looking for a trustworthy person who can make these choices at the critical moment. Once again, if you are incapacitated and can’t make these decisions, you know that someone else has already been selected to do so.
Creating your plan
Medical planning is a very important part of estate planning, so be sure you know what steps to take and how you can set up the future you desire.