Have you created any type of advance directive for your medical future? This is an important part of estate planning that goes beyond simply making a will for your assets.
The advance directive tells the doctors and nurses about your preferred types of medical care, should you not be able to make those decisions for yourself. It ensures that they do not treat you in a way that you directly oppose — for instance, some people feel that it goes too far to be kept alive only through the use of life support.
An advance directive benefits both you and your family
Even if you’re not worried about this for your own sake, you may want to consider using it to give your family peace of mind. Without it, they may have to make some hard choices.
For instance, say that you have a medical emergency. Not knowing what you want, the doctors do put you on life support. Your family comes to the hospital, where you cannot communicate with them.
Then the doctors want to know what they should do. Your family may agonize over this decision. Do they decide to take you off of life support, or will they end up feeling like they made a mistake? Do they keep you on it even when they suspect that it’s not what you’d want?
No matter what they decide about your medical care, your loved ones may always be faced with the feeling that they made the wrong choice unless they have your wishes in writing. Clearly, this is not a position you want to put them in, so declaring your wishes in advance gives them peace as they simply follow your own instructions.
Make complete estate planning a priority
A complete estate plan is often much more complicated than a simple will. Talking with an attorney can help you better clarify both your goals and your needs.