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3 important details you can add to a health care directive

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Taking the time to think about future medical needs and personal wishes can be a smart move. Whether you currently have an estate plan in place or not, it may be time to think about creating an advance health care directive.

Such documents allow Minnesota adults to provide clear instructions for others about their wishes and to name someone to carry out those wishes on their behalf. These are some of the personal preferences you will want to address in your Minnesota directive.

1. The agent who can act on your behalf

Many health care directives include instructions about the preferred person to make medical choices on behalf of someone left incapacitated. In fact, a directive can even include preferences for who you would prefer to serve as guardian if the courts declare you permanently incapacitated. You can also provide guidance about how to make choices based on your values.

2. Life support preferences

Religious preferences, family circumstances and personal wishes can all influence what you believe will be the best approach to your care if you require life support. From allowing limited interventions to declining artificial support entirely, there are many possible approaches to life support in an advance health care directive.

3. Pain management and other specific treatments

The proliferation of opioid addiction has made many people worry about over-medicating for pain. You may want to include instructions in your advance directives outlining your wish to be given minimal pain medication because addiction runs in their family.

You may also have strong preferences regarding other forms of treatment. Medications and even treatments, like blood transfusions, that may violate your faith, could be the standard recommendation for medical treatment unless you provide specific instructions to the contrary. The more your wishes deviate from current best practices, the more important it will be to leave them in writing.

4. Burial instructions and anatomical gifts

You can include basic information about your funeral, burial or cremation services in your advance directive. You can also provide written guidance related to anatomical gifts.

Organ donation or leaving a body for scientific purposes are both options that you can address in an advance directive. These can be very emotional choices for your loved ones, and it may be easier for those grieving if you leave clear instructions about your wishes.

There are numerous documents that can help protect you in an emergency and guide your family during stressful times, including advance health care directives. Adding the right documents to your estate plan will benefit you and the people you love alike.