Most people understand that a professionally-prepared estate plan involves several essential documents. These typically include a will, a power of attorney and a health care directive.
All three of these important documents require proper implementation. A close look at the health care directive identifies some critical details.
A living document
According to information from the National Institute on Aging, a health care directive spells out in advance what type of medical treatment a person wants in a variety of situations. When done properly, this document accomplishes several positive results:
- Puts in writing a person’s end-of-life wishes
- Names a healthcare proxy and establishes his or her role
- Covers organ and tissue donation requests
- Deals with specific aspects of DNR orders
Individuals with a directive can make alterations whenever the situation changes. This includes naming a new proxy, restricting or expanding the role of the proxy and changing the details of end-of-life care.
An important legal document
To give the wishes of each individual power, the legal forms must follow specific guidelines. Each state has its own rules for filling out an advance health care directive. Also, it is important to keep in mind that a medical emergency might happen while the person is traveling in another state or country.
Other considerations include who to share the directive with. Each Individual should give a copy to his or her proxy, to the alternative proxy if one exists and to trusted family members. Relevant medical professionals should also have access to the document.
A health care directive requires considerable thought and planning. It can lead to better results during challenging times.