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2 reasons to add a healthcare directive to your estate plan

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2023 | Estate Planning

Oftentimes, adults who reside in California procrastinate about estate planning. They tell themselves that they can wait for a few more years before they put together a will. Even when they do sit down to draft crucial estate planning documents, they may rush through the process and only do the bare minimum necessary.

Having a will or a trust is obviously better than having no estate plan whatsoever. However, a robust estate plan includes living documents that have authority in the event of a medical emergency. Powers of attorney are popular inclusions in estate plans, as are advance healthcare directives. If you haven’t yet drafted these consequential documents, here are just two of the reasons why creating them is an effort worthy of your time.

You’ll want to control the care that you receive

In the event of a medical emergency, the best practices in place at a treating medical facility will largely determine the kinds of care and treatment options that a patient will receive. The current standards at a medical facility might contradict an individual patient’s personal values. If that patient is incapacitated due to a traumatic injury or a debilitating illness, they may not be able to advocate for the care that they want.

For example, there are those who believe that life support is necessary for as long as someone can potentially remain alive. There are others who object to blood transfusions or certain medications because of how medical professionals developed those drugs. The more specific someone’s medical wishes are, the more important it will be to leave written instructions outlining those preferences so that medical professionals will abide by them.

You’ll want to take the pressure off of your loved ones

Having an immediate family member experience a medical emergency is quite stressful. People may feel beside themselves and unable to focus, eat or sleep as they normally would. When they also have to make difficult decisions about someone’s life support, the treatment they receive or their pain management, the situation can seem overwhelming.

Not only may family members struggle to make those choices in the absence of written guidance, but they may then live their lives second-guessing themselves and worrying that they made the wrong choice. Those who want to spare their loved ones such struggles will not only talk about their wishes but also commit them to writing for future reference.

Advance healthcare directives make someone’s wishes clear and easier to legally enforce. Adding medical directives and other living documents to an estate plan can benefit both a testator and their closest family members in the wake of an unexpected and debilitating injury or illness.