Every estate planning document has a purpose. A Last Will and Testament directs a personal representative to manage and distribute the signer’s assets after death. A power of attorney allows a person to designate a fiduciary, someone to act on their behalf after incapacitation or death. And a health care directive provides necessary information to family members and health care providers about how to act at a critical time in your life.
Three Reasons to Sign a Health Care Directive
A health care directive describes how medical decisions should be made if the person is unable to communicate on their own. A valid, signed health care directive ensures the following three things occur:
- Beliefs regarding medical treatment will be respected. A health care directive gives you the opportunity to express the type and scope of medical treatment you want to receive. Instead of speculating what you might want, your family and medical team can rest assured they are respecting your wishes.
- Your family members can have peace of mind at a difficult time. Naturally, families are under a lot of stress when a loved one is critically ill or near death. Instead of fearing they will make mistakes regarding your medical care, they can simply follow the plans you laid out in your health care directive. No arguing, no doubt. Just confidence they are doing what you want.
- Doctors can focus on your care. Without a health care directive, your doctors will have to consult with family members and sometimes deal with strong differences of opinion. In an extreme case, families must go to court to determine what treatments to choose or who will make decisions about your medical care. Having a signed valid health care directive should allow your doctors to tailor your treatment to your preferences without the need for family or court intervention.
At Virtus Law, we know it can be difficult to talk about estate planning. We also know also how important it is for clients to have complete estate plans. To schedule an appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys, contact us at 612.888.1000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our main office is in Minneapolis, but we serve other communities like Edina, Mendota Heights, and Red Wing.