"I'll do it later." Sound familiar?
We all know we need to take care of these matters yet procrastination is the number one reason why we don't. And don't forget these all too common reasons: It's unpleasant. It's hard. I don't want to think about it today. It makes my kids uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable.
So the next document to consider in your estate planning is a Healthcare Power of Attorney. Yes, really!
A Healthcare Power of Attorney (also known as a "medical power of attorney" or a "durable power of attorney for healthcare") is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone else to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make those decisions yourself. This person is known as your "healthcare agent" or "proxy."
It is important to choose your healthcare agent carefully and to discuss your wishes and expectations with them before signing the healthcare power of attorney. You should also make sure that your healthcare agent is aware of your values and beliefs, as they will be responsible for making decisions that align with those values.
There are several reasons why you might want to have a Healthcare Power of Attorney:
To ensure that your healthcare decisions are made by someone you trust if you are unable to make them yourself. This could be due to a temporary condition, such as being unconscious, or a more permanent condition, such as dementia.
To express your wishes about certain medical treatments and procedures, such as whether you would want to be placed on life support or receive certain types of medical intervention.
To avoid the need for a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding, which can be costly and time-consuming.
To have peace of mind knowing that your healthcare decisions will be carried out in the way you want if you are unable to make them yourself.
Additionally, hospitals and doctors often require you to complete a Healthcare Directive prior to admitting you for medical surgery or a procedure. If they have not discussed this with you, you may want to go ahead and make sure you complete it on your own. Provide the hospital with a copy of the document. This all may sound very scary yet it's another measure to ensure peace of mind for you and your loved one. You can then concentrate and focus on recovering from your surgery or medical procedure.
Next in series: Living Will
* As always, I am not an attorney and cannot offer legal advice but will be happy to refer you to an attorney upon request.