We frequently get asked by our clients about the types of documents they should include in their estate plan. While the answer to this question is mostly dependent on each client’s unique situation, there are a few staple documents beyond a last will and testament that you may want to consider adding to your plan to help protect you from unexpected situations that may arise in the future. A living will, health care proxy, and HIPAA authorization form are a few of these documents. To help illustrate the use and effectiveness of these documents, let us share three reasons why you should consider including health care documents in your estate plan.

1. Lift the burden from your loved ones.

Your estate plan is more than just about protecting yourself, it is also about protecting your loved ones. If you become seriously injured or are diagnosed with a terminal illness, would your loved ones know the types of medical treatments or end-of-life care you would wish to receive? Without clear and specific instructions, the answer to this question is likely no. By creating a living will and designating an agent to make those decisions on your behalf, your loved ones have a set of guidelines to follow and are not left to make those difficult decisions alone.

2. Avoid unnecessary medical treatment.

One of the main benefits of creating a living will is the power it gives you to carefully detail the future care you would like to receive. Some examples include, the length of time you would want to remain on a life support machine or how you would prefer any pain to be managed. Medical professionals are legally obligated to follow the instructions embodied in your living will, so you can rest assured you would not be subjected to any unnecessary medical treatment.

3. Retain control over your medical care.

Did you know that your health care documents can be updated at any time? This is true, as your living will will not take effect until you are both legally and medically declared unable to make decisions for yourself. As the creator of these documents, you can enjoy the flexibility they provide to update any changes to your future care and who you designate as your agent.

We know there are many things to think about when you are preparing your estate plan. This is why it is important to consider your planning goals and how each document you create aligns with those goals. If you have any questions about the types of health care documents you need, do not hesitate to get in touch with our office.