Decisions about your health care are some of the most important decisions you will ever make. What would happen if you didn’t have the health care documents in place to help others make those critical decisions when you can’t?
Unfortunately, in this world, anything can happen and life can change on the turn of a dime. Don’t put off making plans until it is too late and you are unable to assert your wishes. Including health care documents in your estate plan can ensure your decisions are always your choice, even if you cannot speak for yourself.
The estate plan does not stop with having a Will for the allocation of your assets after death. Health care documents that clearly state your wishes should be included in your comprehensive estate plan. There are three documents you need to include in your estate plan to ensure your wishes are respected.
The Health Care Documents You Need
Health Care Directive
The health care directive is a document that allows you to name a health care agent. This will be the individual to whom you grant the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf. A health care agent may also be called a health care surrogate.
In your health care directive, you can include specific instructions on the health care 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 your estate planning lawyer to ensure your directive provides clear guidelines for your agent to follow.
Your health care 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 health care providers. You may also wish to include individuals on the HIPPA authorization to whom you may not wish to grant power to make healthcare decisions on your behalf but would want to permit access to reach out to your medical provider and find out how you are doing after an accident or serious illness.
Living Will Declaration
A living will is a document thatprovides specific guidelines for your end of life care. While your health care directive can include provisions for your agent to make certain decisions about your ongoing health care, a living will tells your agent how you would like those decisions to be made, such as:
- If and when you want life support to be removed
- Whether you would want hydration and nutrition
- 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 that your desires will be known and honored.
Health Care Documents That Support Your Values
These documents, if carefully crafted, will help you express and enforce your healthcare wishes, even if you cannot speak for yourself. No one can read your mind and your loved ones will be left to make impossible decisions about live and death without your input. Don’t settle your loved ones with such great burden- make your wishes clearly know so their job will be to simply honor your choices. Your values and preferences are more secure with health care documents in place.
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. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can guide you to create and complete these very important health care documents so you can have the peace of mind of knowing your family will make the right choices for you, when you cannot.
Contact us today to get started with the process of estate planning for single parents. Start by scheduling an initial consultation.
This article is a service of Natalya Evans, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. If your children are younger, you might consider including our Kids Protection Plan.
You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.