Many adults focus on the distribution of their assets when they’re creating their estate plans. There’s something else you need to consider when you’re crafting your plan: What might happen if you’re incapacitated.
You can’t make decisions for yourself if you’re incapacitated, so you need someone to do that for you. There are some treatment decisions that you can make ahead of time by writing out an advance directive. Together, the advance directive and the person who has your power of attorney determine what treatments you will receive.
Comprehensive decision making
Your advance directive can outline certain things, such as whether you want to receive artificial nutrition to keep you alive. If you don’t want to be resuscitated, you need to have a special form, known as a DNR order, in place. You can also have special mental health treatment preferences listed in a document so those are known.
An advance directive provides basic information, but there will likely be some decisions that require a person to make. You can give a person power of attorney over your health care decisions. They should be able to do things based on your wishes and not their own agenda. It’s a good idea to have a discussion with them about what you want and don’t want so they’re prepared if they’re called.
Part of comprehensive estate planning is getting the power of attorney for health care and advance directive set. Working with someone familiar with your wishes and ensuring that you have everything in order can give you peace and help your loved ones when they’re going through a difficult time because you’re incapacitated.