It is not easy to think about what kind of health care you would want if you are ever incapacitated, but it is a worthwhile effort to make these plans. Failure to have such plans in place could result in others making important, life-altering decisions on your behalf.
Through a living will and a health care power of attorney, you can control what happens to you in case you are unable to express your wishes due to physical or mental incapacitation. You will find it both beneficial and practical to include these documents as part of your estate plan.
You have the right to choose what happens to you
When it comes to your health, you have the right to choose what happens to you. Through two particular documents, you can protect that right and save your California family from stress and difficult decisions in complex situations. You can outline your wishes for desired care using the following:
- Power of attorney: With this type of advanced directive, you can name a person to make medical decisions on your behalf in case of incapacitation. The person you choose can be a member of your faith community or your family. The person you choose cannot be your doctor and should be trusted to make important or difficult decisions.
- A living will: This legal document outlines the care you wish to receive if you are unable to speak for yourself. This can include resuscitation, dialysis, end-of-life care, antibiotics, palliative care, tube feeding, mechanical ventilation and more. You can even outline your wishes for organ and tissue donation if you choose to do so.
It is not always easy to think about these matters, but it can be helpful to talk with your doctor and discuss these matters with your loved ones before you make any important decisions.
Estate planning for every stage of your life
Having a power of attorney or a living will is not something reserved for the sick or the elderly. It is a smart and beneficial step for every person, regardless of health status or age, and you can draft these documents as part of your complete estate plan.
It is useful to discuss the estate planning tools that you need for your current state of life. Significant life changes and other matters necessitate evaluating and updating your current plans and making additions as needed. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand how you can protect your interests and those of your loved ones.