No one knows the health care needs that he or she could have in the future. Since it is impossible to predict what will happen, it can be useful to go ahead and put certain things into place to ensure that your health care needs and wishes are secure and known.
Many find it beneficial to include a health care directive and a living will as part of their estate plan. Through these documents, you may be able to express your wishes regarding your health care in case you are not able to speak for yourself because of illness or injury. Simply having these things in place can provide a measure of peace of mind for yourself and for your Washington family.
What should you include in your estate plan?
Both a living will and a health care power of attorney are legal documents that allow you to be very specific regarding what kind of care you do or do not wish to receive in the future in case of incapacitation. These are two distinct documents, and they both offer certain benefits. The benefits between these two are as follows:
- Living will: This document allows you to specifically name the types of treatment that you do and do not want to receive in the future. This includes everything from ventilation to resuscitation to organ donation. When drafting a living will, it is beneficial to consider your religious beliefs and other pertinent factors.
- Power of attorney: A power of attorney allows you to name a person to make medical decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to do so for yourself. This can be an attorney, a family member or a trusted friend.
Having one or both of these in place can be beneficial in case the unexpected happens. It is impossible to accurately predict what will happen in the years ahead, but with either or both of these documents, you can have a measure of control over what happens to your body.
Building a complete plan
Your estate plan should be unique. You can customize yours to meet your unique needs and objectives, and you would be wise to carefully consider the benefits of including a power of attorney or living will.
If you are unsure of what tools you may need to add to an existing plan or wish to start the estate planning process, you can start by consulting with an estate planning attorney in order to protect your health care needs and future financial interests.