It’s wise to leave medical advice for your family so that they know how to address questions that may come up in the future. Remember that you may not always be able to make these decisions yourself. Some conditions can leave you incapacitated, such as suffering from a stroke or a heart attack that puts you in the hospital. Your family needs to know how to react at that time.
There are a few different ways you can address this, and two of the most common are to use an advance directive or a medical power of attorney. Let’s consider how these work and the advantages they have.
First of all, you could use an advance directive just to leave directions for your medical team. Maybe you don’t want to be kept on life-support. Perhaps you don’t want to be resuscitated. If you have any opinions about your medical care, this document simply helps you convey those opinions to the team.
Choosing a power of attorney
A more flexible way to do this, however, is to use a power of attorney. You can designate someone to be your agent with this medical document. They have the ability to make medical decisions for you.
The benefit here is that you can talk to this person in advance and explain what you would like. They can react in real-time to the conditions that arise. You simply need to find someone that you trust to make the decisions you would and to put your best interests first.
No matter how you decide to do it, making medical decisions is a big part of estate planning. Be sure you know what options you have.