Very few people want to think about death or life-limiting illnesses, but it is an important part of estate planning. Without preparing for worst case medical circumstances, the truth is someone else will make the hard decisions for you. They may not be what you would choose for yourself, so take control now so a medical team will follow your wishes in the event something happens.
According to the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General, the place to start is by creating a Living Will. Some think that by creating one it gives power to others right away. In truth, a Living Will only goes into effect when a doctor states a patient is unable to make medical decisions on his or her own. A Living Will allows the writer to make decisions about a number of things.
One is regarding the use of tubes for fluids and food. The other is for support that prolongs life. In the event of death, a Living Will determines the donation of organs. Another option a Living Will allows is to name a health car surrogate.
According to the AARP, a surrogate conveys your wishes about medical care in the event of incapacitation. When choosing this person, trustworthiness and persistence are two important traits. You want to know that you can trust the surrogate to follow your directions, and the person needs to have the tenacity to make sure the medical team understands. It also is a good idea to choose a back up in the event something happens to the first choice.
Sit down with your surrogate and put in writing what you want for end-of-life treatment and other medical care. Make sure to make copies of all documents.