Incorporating Health Care Directives in an Estate Plan

As we age, our health care initiatives are incredibly important for informing our friends and loved ones about how to approach any medical treatments or emergencies in case you cannot express your personal opinions.

Estate plans are the strongest tools to inform and dictate any concerns surrounding medical, therapeutic or surgical procedures, including any prescriptions or experimental treatments. But how do you set up these aspects of an estate plan?

A durable power of attorney and other medical directives

There are multiple ways to express what your final wishes are or the preferences for your medical treatments in your estate plan. The most popular ones are a durable power of attorney and a medical directive.

A durable power of attorney applies to multiple aspects of an estate. This proxy can act on your behalf for financial decisions, medical treatments or any major decisions that you cannot make in the meantime. However, medical durable power of attorney focuses solely on health care choices and guiding any decisions for your care in your absence.

When you name a proxy, you want to select someone who knows you well and can trust to act on your behalf. They should be able to understand how you think and what decisions you would make if you were facing a life or death situation.

Along with the proxy, you will establish a living will which explicitly states any of your decisions, including if you would like to withhold or withdraw any medical procedures that could extend your life. This is usually separate from your health care proxy, so you can be as specific or vague as you wish.

Both documents are essential resources to ensure you receive the healthcare you want, especially when your voice cannot be heard.

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