Though you may already know that an estate plan could help you protect your assets and ensure that your property goes to whom you want, this plan can have other purposes as well. In particular, you could use your estate plan to explain how you want your health care handled in the event that you experience a serious medical scenario, particularly one that leaves you incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself.
Certainly, this can be a stressful situation to consider, but it is better to think about it early rather than waiting until you are already facing medical concerns or until it is too late for you to provide instruction. Fortunately, various planning tools exist that could help you create a plan that clearly expresses your wishes for a given situation.
Planning early does not mean that you are stuck with the decisions you make years before they go into effect. You can create your documents now so that your loved ones do have vital information should something befall you, but you can also change the information in your documents at any time in case you change your mind or in case you do receive a medical diagnosis and want to provide specific instructions in regard to handling the effects of and care for that condition.
Some specific documents you could consider including are:
- A medical power of attorney to appoint someone to make medical-related choices in the event that you cannot make sound decisions or speak for yourself
- Medical or physician orders for life-sustaining treatment
- A living will to explain the types of treatment you prefer to have and whether resuscitative measures should be taken in the event that you stop breathing on your own
- Instructions for funeral arrangements
If you wish, you could also register to become an organ donor in Georgia so that your family will not have to make that decision in the event of your sudden demise.
While you may think that you could just tell your loved ones what you want, most people do not remember verbal instructions perfectly, and in many cases, doctors cannot act on the decisions of another person unless they have the legal authority to do so. Creating formal medical-related documents as part of your estate plan could better ensure that your care goes as smoothly as possible if an incapacitating event occurs.