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Prepare for life’s twists with these advance planning tools

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Estate Planning

When life throws a curveball, it’s crucial to have a game plan. That’s where living wills and health care surrogates come into play. They are not just pieces of paper; they serve as your voice during times when you might not be able to speak for yourself. Below, we explain why these care planning documents are critical components of a solid estate plan.

Making a living will

A living will is your personal directive on what medical treatment you want or don’t want if you are incapacitated and you are unable to do so. Some of the key points of living wills include:

  • Choice of treatment: You can specify which medical procedures you’re okay with and which you want to avoid.
  • End-of-life care: Make decisions about life support and other treatments that could extend your life.
  • Peace of mind: Your family won’t have to guess your wishes, reducing stress during tough times.

Having a living will means leaving instructions for a time when you’re not able to call the shots due to illness or incapacity, which can be of enormous relief and reassurance to the people around you.

Naming a health care surrogate

A health care surrogate or proxy is a trusted person you choose to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated and you are unable to do so. This person should know you well and understand your values and desires concerning medical treatment. More specifically, a proxy can: 

  • Speak on your behalf: Your proxy can ensure that your medical care aligns with your wishes.
  • Adapt to changing situations: If unexpected medical decisions arise, your proxy can make calls based on your preferences.
  • Advocate for your needs: Your proxy can work with doctors to make sure you get the care you want.

Naming this decision-maker yourself can eliminate the confusion and legal complications that can arise if you fall ill and cannot express yourself.

Creating your advance directive documents

Too many people feel a living will and health care proxy are only for the elderly or sick. However, they are vital planning tools for anyone who wants control over their medical care, no matter what happens. By taking these steps now, you can ensure that your healthcare decisions stay in your hands.