Decisions about your healthcare are some of the most important you will ever make.
Don’t put off making plans until you are unable to assert your wishes. Because planning for the unexpected now, while you are well, is so important, National Health Care Decisions Day is a week this year, Sunday, April 16th– Saturday April 22nd. Including healthcare documents in your estate plan can ensure your decisions are always your choice, even if you cannot speak for yourself.
Healthcare documents that clearly state your wishes should be included in your comprehensive estate plan. Here are three documents you need to include in your estate plan to ensure your wishes are respected:
This document allows you to name a healthcare agent. This will be the individual who you grant the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf. A healthcare agent may also be called a healthcare surrogate or a personal representative.
In your directive, you can include specific instructions on the healthcare measures you desire if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. These are life and death decisions; make sure your agent is someone you trust. Work closely with an estate-planning lawyer to ensure your directive provides clear guidelines for your agent to follow.
Your healthcare agent or personal representative will need access to your medical records to make educated decisions about your care. To do this, your agent will need a HIPAA authorization. This will ensure he or she has access to your medical records from HIPAA-covered healthcare providers.
A living will provides specific guidelines for your end of life care. While your healthcare directive can include provisions for your agent to make certain decisions about your ongoing healthcare, a living will tells your agent how you would like those decisions made, such as if and when you want life support to be removed, whether you would want hydration and nutrition and what kind of care choices should be made for you, if you cannot make them for yourself. These types of absolute decisions about your life should be included in a living will for extra protection and assurance your desires will be known and honored.
These documents, if carefully crafted, will help you express and enforce your healthcare wishes, even if you cannot speak for yourself. If you want to ensure your preferences for your ongoing and end of life care are respected, contact us to discuss your options today.
A Personal Family Lawyer® can help you articulate and legally protect your healthcare wishes and preferences. We can guide you to create and complete these very important healthcare documents so you can have the peace of mind of knowing your family will make the right choices for you, when you cannot, during a Family Wealth Planning Session, free of charge. Simply call Client Services Director, Paula, at 978-263-6900 and mention this article and we can discuss your options. Learn more about National Heatlhcare Decisions Day at http://www.nhdd.org/.
To your family’s health, wealth and happiness!
P.S. Want to get started on the most important planning you’ll ever do for your family? Give our office a call at (978) 263-6900 to get started. You’ll be so glad you did.
David Feakes is the owner of The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm, PC – a law firm for families in the Acton, Massachusetts area. David helps parents protect the people they love the most. If you would like to receive David’s exclusive, free report, “Six Major Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing An Estate Planning Attorney,” you can get it right here.
Image courtesy NHDD.org