Comprehensive estate planning goes beyond creating a will. One important part of estate planning no one should overlook is creating an advance health care directive. An advance health care directive outlines what kind of medical care you want to receive at the end of your life or if you can’t make those decisions for yourself.
Some of the benefits of having an advance health care directive include the following:
- You take time to think about how what kind of care you want to receive in an emergency or at the end of your life.
- You are prepared for unexpected medical situations.
- Your family and loved ones will know what your wishes are and feel better knowing your wishes are being honored.
- Your doctors and care providers will know what kind of care you want to receive.
- You can outline what your care wishes are if you become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions on your own.
Some of the care decisions you can address in your advance health care directive include the following:
- If you want to be kept alive with life support at an advanced age
- If you want resuscitation at an advanced age
- If you want to receive tube feeding at an advanced age
- At what point you want to discontinue dialysis
- If you want hospice or palliative care
- If you want to be an organ donor
- If you want to donate your body to science
As part of creating your advance health care directive, you also can create a health care proxy, where you name someone who will follow your advance health care directive and who will make health care decisions on your behalf.
If you don’t have a will, you can create a will and an advance health care directive at the same time with the help of an estate planning attorney. Then you will know that your wishes will be followed, and your family won’t have to make decisions about your care during a difficult and stressful time.