Preparing your Advance Healthcare Directive is one of the most important pieces of your estate plan. Ideally, you should be the one who makes decisions regarding the type and level of care you receive at the end of your life.
A medical healthcare directive will allow you to do that even if you are unable to speak for yourself. Not to mention that you will be greatly relieving your loved ones from the stress of having to guess what you would have done if you were able.
Another question you will be asked when preparing your healthcare directive with your Orange County estate attorney is whether or not you want to receive life-prolonging treatments if it was determined you couldn’t recover. Some people have trouble answering that question, and others immediately know their answer. Either way, even thinking about this situation is uncomfortable. Can you imagine asking someone to make this decision without your guidance?
Your OC estate planning attorney will guide you through the process of choosing a Medical Power of Attorney and giving them instructions via your Living Will. Having these documents in hand will alleviate some of their stress if something happens to you. At least they would know what you wanted, and they’ll have the legal authority to carry your wishes out.
However, it is important that the person that you select as your healthcare Power of Attorney be able to follow your instructions. Especially if you choose to “pull the plug” rather than continuing on life support. Choose wisely, as your first choice of healthcare Power of Attorney may not ultimately be up for the job.
We recommend that you have a conversation with the person you selected prior to preparing your documents. It should be an open and honest conversation. Ask direct questions like, “Would you be able to direct a physician to withhold or remove life support if the physician informs you that there is no chance for a recovery?” Watch closely for hesitation and talk through those aspects that cause concern. At the end of the conversation, you should know that he or she is capable of carrying through with this painful task.
Remember that your healthcare Power of Attorney doesn’t necessarily have to be your spouse or child. You could select another relative or even a friend. Just make sure that it is someone who can honor all of your choices.
If you haven’t yet created your Advance Healthcare Directive, call our Newport Beach estate planning attorneys right away. The sooner you get started the better! Once you have this and your other estate plan documents in place, you will feel a sense of peace that you didn’t even know you were missing.