The more thorough and up-to-date your estate plan is, the more it will protect you as you grow older and after you die. Too many people in Minnesota reviewing or creating their estate plans focus solely on what happens to their property or their children when they die and not at all on when they could be vulnerable and in need of help.
Your estate plan is an opportunity for you to protect yourself if you have a medical emergency in the future. Adding an advance health care directive to your estate plan could be a very beneficial move.
You take control over your future care
Everyone has their own beliefs and preferences regarding medical treatment. There are religions that have rules against blood transfusions or medicines developed with certain kinds of research, like stem cell research. You may feel strongly about making an anatomical donation when you die or worried because of a family history of addiction that if you get pain relief in an emergency, it could ruin your life.
A health care directive gives you a place to make very clear statements about your medical preferences and to provide instructions for how your loved ones should make health care decisions on your behalf. You can also name the person that you want to handle those choices. Your health care directive can also include funeral plans, your selection for the guardian or conservator appointed to support you and your preference regarding what hospital treats you.
Putting all of that information into one legal document helps ensure that you will get the right care and that your loved ones aren’t left racking their brains, trying to remember previous conversations with you about your medical wishes.
Advance directives, much like wills, may require updates
Many circumstances in your life could change your medical preferences. For example, if you have a terminal illness, that may change your feelings about life support.
It isn’t just important to create an advance health care directive when you are young and healthy enough to author legally-binding documents. It is also very important that you occasionally review and update your health care directive and other estate planning documents so that they remain accurate and up-to-date.
Integrating the right forms into your estate plan will protect you and your family regardless of what the future brings.