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How can you plan for your medical care if you become incapacitated?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2024 | Firm News |

Planning for medical care is a critical component of comprehensive estate planning. It involves making decisions about healthcare and treatment in advance, ensuring that your preferences are respected even if you’re unable to relay them personally. This aspect of estate planning provides peace of mind and guides family members and healthcare providers in making informed decisions during difficult times.

Advanced directives and powers of attorney are two critical tools used in planning for medical care within an estate plan. These instruments serve as a means to express your wishes regarding medical treatment and designate individuals to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

Advanced directives

An advanced directive is a legal document that outlines your medical care preferences if you become incapacitated. This includes decisions about life-sustaining treatments, resuscitation and end-of-life care.

There are two main types of advanced directives: living wills and healthcare directives. Living wills specifically detail the types of medical treatments one would or wouldn’t want to receive in certain situations. Healthcare directives, on the other hand, often include a broader scope of instructions and may encompass personal values and preferences beyond specific medical interventions.

Powers of attorney

A power of attorney for healthcare is a document that allows you to appoint someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can’t do so. This designated person, often a trusted family member or friend, becomes responsible for making healthcare decisions that align with your preferences and best interests. A power of attorney for healthcare becomes active under specific circumstances, typically if a physician determines that you’re unable to make their own medical decisions.

Planning for your medical care if you become incapacitated is only one small component of a comprehensive estate plan. You also need to plan for financial decisions if you become incapacitated and how to pass your assets to your loved ones after you die. Working with a professional who understands your circumstances may be beneficial because they can explain your options and help you ensure your plan accurately relays your wishes.