One of the important components of an estate plan has to do with making decisions now about what is going to happen if you aren't able to make those decisions in the future. This is actually something that many people don't like to think about, but planning now can make life much easier for the people you leave behind when the time comes.
There are a few different things that you need to think about when you are making these components of an estate plan. Here are a few to get you started.
Think about who is going to make decisions for you
You need to name a power of attorney for health care. This person is the one who will make decisions about your medical care if you aren't able to make the decisions yourself. You should think carefully about whom you name. This should be someone who can think clearly when things get stressful regarding your medical care. It should also be someone who knows your wishes and is able to stand up for you if there are any questions about what you would want.
Outline your wishes clearly
A living will is a document that lets people, including medical personnel, know what interventions you are willing to have. Some of the things to consider include:
--Are you willing to be resuscitated?
--Do you want to be placed on life support?
--Are you willing to have nutritional support if you can't eat on your own?
--What types of end-of-life support will you consider?
--Are there any medical procedures, such as blood transfusions, that you are strongly opposed to?
Essentially, you need to think about every medical decision that you have strong feelings about and include those in the living will. Make sure that you review the document periodically to ensure that it is still reflective of your wishes.
Determine when advanced directives are enforceable
There are some instances in which advanced directives, including living wills, aren't enforceable. If emergency services are called, the responding medical personnel must do whatever is necessary to stabilize the patient. This means that they can't follow a living will. Additionally, an advanced directive isn't enforceable unless two physicians must certify that you aren't able to make decisions for yourself and that other necessary criteria are met. If you regain the ability make decisions for yourself, the advanced directives aren't enforceable any longer.
Another thing to know is that advanced directives from one state aren't always enforceable in another, so make sure that you make appropriate arrangements if you are planning on traveling.