The pandemic has changed the way we do a lot of things. We all view healthcare, shopping, dining out differently. You can add Advance Directives to that list now.
Advance directives are the living will and the health care proxy or power of attorneyâ€”legal documents that communicate your wishes when you cannot tell them to your doctors.
Living wills tell medical providers what kinds of care you want at the end of your life if you can’t tell them. Health care proxies or powers of attorney let you designate someone to make your chosen medical decisions for you can’t. Most people should have both since not all medical situations will trigger a living will.
If you don’t have these documents, here are some resources:
- Free Printable Advanced Directives at AARP
- Everplans Advanced Directives
- Fives Wishes Advanced Directives
- Prepare for Your Care Advanced Directives by state
Choosing The Right Healthcare Proxy
Itâ€™s important to select the right person to make your health decisions. It should be someone you know will follow your wishes, rather than simply tell the doctors to do whatever they can to preserve a life whose quality was already lost.
It’s also important to have a backup in case your initial choice can’t do it. You may also want to explain your thinking, so that loved ones understand your intentions.
Lastly, store the documents where they will be available when needed. Put originals in a secure place with the rest of your estate planning documents and store copies online, perhaps with your financial advisor and attorney. Give a copy to your doctor and carry a card that has the health care agentâ€™s name and contact information. Of course, let your family know how to find them.
The pandemic has changed a lot of things. The importance of how you communicate your advanced directives is one of them. Make sure you have your advanced directives prepared and in a location, your family and medical providers can find them.
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