What kind of medical care do you hope to receive at the end of your life? What are your feelings about being kept on a breathing assistance machine, or a feeding tube? To you, what makes life worth living? And, how would you describe a dignified death?
These are heavy questions, yet they are important to clarify, both in your own mind and in your advance health care directive. This is a crucial estate planning document, allowing you to make clear your end-of-life wishes and intentions, and to ensure those wishes are upheld even if you become incapacitated.
Is your advance health care directive as clear and as valuable as it could be? That’s always a question that’s worth asking. Your advance directive attorney can help you strengthen your document. In the meantime, here are a few general tips.
How to Strengthen Your Advance Health Care Directive
- Educate yourself. How much do you really know about resuscitation and life-sustaining treatment? We all tend to assume that we know what these terms mean, but it’s important to actually do a little research, ensuring that you’re making well-informed decisions in your estate planning documents. Simply put, you don’t want to make life-and-death decisions without first gathering all the facts.
- Choose the right agent. A directive power of attorney document will allow you to name a person who can act as your health care agent, or surrogate. This is a person you are legally empowering to speak on your behalf, and to voice your wishes. It’s crucial to name someone who you really trust, and to be very clear in your document about who that agent is. You can also be very clear in stating who cannot make decisions on your behalf, simply to avoid any confusion or any infighting amongst your family members.
- Share your document in advance. Once you have a health care directive in place, take some time to share it with your loved ones (including the person you named as your agent or surrogate), walking them through your thought process and helping them to understand how you arrived at each decision. This can provide your loved ones with greater peace of mind when the time comes to actually implement your advance directive.
- Provide a copy of your directive power of attorney document to your doctors. Simply put, all members of your medical care team should have a copy. If you add a new doctor to your team, don’t forget to distribute a copy of your health directive. And if you make changes to the document, supply each doctor with an updated copy.
- Review your document annually. Your feelings and preferences may change with age and experience. It’s important to assess your document regularly, and to revise it as necessary.
- Consult with an advance directive attorney. To ensure that your document is complete, and that it covers all the pertinent information with total clarity, we highly recommend meeting with an attorney who specializes in advance care planning.
Schedule a Consultation with Singh Law Firm
Singh Law Firm is an experienced estate planning firm serving clients in Fremont, CA and the surrounding area. Our team can provide you with the guidance you need for all end-of-life planning, specifically addressing questions regarding the advance health care directive, durable power of attorney, and more.
There’s never a bad time to review your advanced care plans, and to ensure that your legal documents are robust and clear. Our law firm is here to help. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, contact Singh Law Firm today.