An uncomfortable but crucial part of estate planning is creating directives regarding your preferred medical care should you become incapacitated. These advance health care directives allow you to continue making your own medical decisions—with the help of an authorized agent—regardless of your condition.
You may face questions (treatment preferences, etc.) from your legal counsel when creating your advance directives. Answer them candidly but remember to ask a few questions of your own to ensure you understand your decisions.
What should you ask your representative?
Each state has unique rules for what you can and cannot do in your instructions. That usually means you need custom-tailored advance health care directives to ensure they are valid. Ask your counsel to explain the associated laws in your region before you begin.
Here are seven more questions to consider:
- Must medical professionals follow my directives?
- What qualities should I look for in an authorized healthcare proxy?
- Are my instructions valid in emergency medical situations?
- What if my agent cannot serve when I need them?
- Should I name more than one person to make my medical decisions?
- What are my options under California law?
- Should I talk with my doctor about advance health care directives?
The answers to these and other questions are often complicated and require more knowledge about your life circumstances. For example, authorizing more than one person to make your medical decisions may pose a few risks.
Before you make your directives legally binding, consider discussing complex matters like these in detail and make certain that your entire estate plan is sound.