Having a will in place for your final wishes is extremely important, but it doesn’t cover everything. Sometimes the people around you will need guidance before you go.
Only 37% of people have made their wishes clear in case of a medical emergency where they can’t make decisions. This can leave your loved ones and caregivers scrambling for answers, trying to determine the best course of action. Advanced directives can handle this situation, and can give everyone some peace of mind that your wishes are remaining intact.
A document that outlines your wishes in case you become incapacitated, a living will guides those in charge of your care. If you’re terminally ill or permanently unconscious, your living will holds the answers to what care you’d like to receive:
- Do not resuscitate orders if your heart or breathing ceases
- Feeding or fluid tubes if you can’t eat or drink on your own
- Ventilators in to keep your lungs pumping
Durable power of attorney
While power of attorney may not last once you become incapacitated, the durable version can hold steady. Sometimes referred to as medical power of attorney, this document will name someone you trust to take care of important health care decisions.
Once you name that person, they become your medical proxy. This likely allows them to speak with any care providers regarding your treatment. If you failed to make your wishes known, then this person will usually need to determine the best course of action.
Ensure your loved ones heed your wishes if you become unable to speak for yourself. Deciding on the terms of advanced directives can be difficult, but the small price now can lead to a large comfort later.