Your estate plan must go beyond addressing money and assets. An effective estate plan also should have advance medical directives, which include important legal documents related to the medical care you will or will not accept.
Granted, it may make you uneasy to discuss end-of-life matters, but these conversations with your loved ones must take place. Let them know about your health care-related wishes.
From living will to having witnesses
Here are some important things to understand about advance medical directives:
- Create a living will: This is a pivotal piece of a medical directive. This document expresses your choice to refuse medical treatment and life-saving procedures if you are in a terminal condition.
- Create a durable power of attorney for health care: This document represents the companion to the living will. A durable power of attorney for health care allows you to name the person who will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Think carefully when choosing this person.
- Consider DNR and DNI orders as part of living will: These also are key parts of a living will. A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order lets health care providers know not to attempt to save your life through cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you stop breathing or heart stops beating. (The doctor writes the DNR order after having spoken with you or your family.) A do-not-intubate (DNI) orders instructs health care staff to not insert breathing tubes to help you breathe.
- Must be competent and of sound mind: When creating advance medical directives, you must be lucid and of sound mind. This ensures that you made the decisions on your own accord.
- Witnesses needed: When signing a living will in Florida, you must do so in front of two witnesses.
Having advance medical directives in place represent important aspects of estate planning.
A necessary aspect of estate planning
Making end-of-life plans is a necessary part of estate planning. With guidance from an experienced and understanding attorney, you can accomplish this. By making these decisions, your loved ones will gain some sense of relief and peace of mind in knowing that they did not have to do so.