One of the best ways to achieve peace of mind, for both yourself and loved ones, is to plan ahead. You cannot prepare for every potential scenario. You can, however, provide guidance that can be applied to many situations.
This is the basis for incapacity planning and the use of advance directives. While this is certainly a difficult topic, the benefits are tremendous. There are two advance directives in particular that can provide real clarity.
Offer guidance with a living will
A living will is often the backbone of incapacity planning. With this document, you can lay out the types of medical care you do or do not want in the event you become incapacitated. This means loved ones will not have to guess (or argue over) whether they should assent to a certain procedure or the use of specific machines. The answers will be in your living will, for all to see.
A living will can be as specific or broad as you like. In addition, you can change it at any time while you are still capacitated.
A health care surrogate designation
A health care surrogate works hand-in-hand with a living will. You use this to designate a representative. This representative will be tasked with making medical decisions on your behalf if you can no longer communicate.
This person is expected to make choices based on what you would have wanted. While this can be based on personal conversations, providing a living will as well means there can be little doubt about your wishes.
A few things to keep in mind
It is not easy to talk about advance directives. That is likely why more than six in 10 Americans do not have any. The benefits of establishing a living will and health care surrogate designation now – whether you are ill or not – are numerous.
The last thing you want to do is leave loved ones in a state of confusion or uncertainty. Nor do you want your wishes to go unintentionally ignored. With proper incapacity planning, you can help prevent these worrying things from occurring.