Creating an estate plan is a responsible step to take as you get older. However, many people don’t realize there’s more to just your estate plan than your will and trusts.
An important part of estate planning is creating an advanced health care directive. The form is also called a power of attorney for healthcare and allows you to name someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated. You can also use this to name someone to make healthcare decisions for you while you are still capable.
Creating this important document
The form used for an advanced healthcare directive allows you to limit your agent’s power or give them full control of your healthcare decisions. If you choose not to impose any limits on your agent, they can:
- Refuse consent or consent to care or treatment for mental and physical conditions.
- Approve or deny testing and surgeries.
- Choose or discharge doctors, medical facilities and other care providers.
- If you pass, they can decide on organ donation, autopsies and the disposition of remains.
Leave specific instructions
A section on the form allows you to leave instructions regarding your health care. It can be used with or without an agent assigned. Usually, this part is used to designate if you want lifesaving measures. You can specify other end-of-life decisions regarding healthcare and treatment here, too.
Creating a full and comprehensive estate plan
If you want to ensure that your estate plan is complete, having an advanced health care directive is recommended. This legal document allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf and leave instructions regarding your future health care needs.