Having an advance healthcare directive is an important part of ensuring any estate plan is complete. An advance healthcare directive is intended to help guide medical staff through the medical care and treatment that estate planner wants to receive if they are unable to speak for themselves. In that way, advance care planning can help give estate planners and their loved ones peace of mind when it is needed most.
What should be included in an advance healthcare directive?
An advance healthcare directive, or living will, outlines the medical care and treatment the estate planner wishes to receive if they are incapacitated and unable to direct their healthcare decisions for themselves. It can also lay out the medical care and treatment the estate planner does not wish to receive. Types of medical care and treatment the estate planner may wish to consider including in their advance healthcare directive can include:
- CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation);
- Ventilator use;
- Artificial nutrition (tube feeding) and artificial hydration (IV, or intravenous, fluids);
- Resuscitation; and
- Comfort care
There are several other documents, including powers of attorney and do not resuscitate orders, as examples, that estate planners may also wish to consider including to address their medical care wishes and what happens if they become incapacitated at any point.
Estate planning is important for a variety of reasons not the least of which is if the estate planner is incapacitated and some point. Careful thought should go into developing a comprehensive estate plan which includes thoughtfully addressing end-of-life care in an advance healthcare directive.