As you find out more about estate planning, you learn about end-of-life planning. How do you protect your wishes when you cannot voice them?
Mayo Clinic breaks down living wills and advanced directives. With the right estate planning tools, you give yourself and your loved one peace of mind.
Advance directives and living wills represent legal, written guidance regarding your chosen medical care if you cannot speak for yourself. For instance, if you fall into a coma or develop dementia, you need to let doctors and your family know the treatments you desire. Even younger individuals benefit from these documents, as end-of-life scenarios apply at any age.
Other than noting your desires, another reason to create a living will or advance directive is so your loved ones do not worry about making the wrong choice for you. Without an end-of-life plan, your friends and family may worry about going against your beliefs, religion or values when you need emergency medical care.
The power of attorney
Other than a living will and advance directive, you may want to draft a power of attorney. This legal document notes the person you want to make healthcare decisions for you when you cannot. Some states call the role “health care proxy” or “durable power of attorney for health care.”
When naming someone on your power of attorney, think about a person in your life who meets California’s requirements, does not mind talking about end-of-life matters and has your trust.
You may not want to think too much about the end of your life. Collecting the courage to do so and making your decisions official ensures you take care of what matters the most in your life.