Like others, you may think estate planning only involves writing a will and only matters if you have significant assets you wish to pass on. However, it also includes the creation of advance care directives.
Understanding the types of advance care directives to include in your estate plan may help you prepare for the inevitable, as well as for the unexpected.
According to MayoClinic.org, you should consider including a living will in your advance care documents. This type of directive lets you dictate the types of medical treatment and care you would or would not want to receive. For example, you may specify that you do not want mechanical ventilation if you cannot breathe on your own or that you would want cardiopulmonary resuscitation if your heart stops beating.
Power of attorney
In addition to or in lieu of a living will, you may also choose to establish a health care power of attorney. Through this option, you name someone as a personal representative. Should you lack the ability or capacity to make medical choices for yourself, your chosen agent will make them for you. This person only has decision-making authority if you become physically or mentally incapacitated, and he or she will make choices based on your likely care preferences.
Without warning, a serious injury or illness may strike and leave you unable to agree to proposed treatments or give your wishes. Therefore, advance care directives may play an important role in giving you peace of mind that, should the inevitable effects of time or the unexpected happen, you will receive the treatment and care that you would choose for yourself.