In the event of a serious injury or accident, it is vital that you have several key documents in place so that your loved ones know your desires for medical care. If you are too ill or seriously injured to tell them and there are no directives in place, the decisions will be left up to loved ones and may not be the choices you desired. The following steps should be taken now to ensure that you and your family are aware of your wishes should a situation in which you are incapacitated arises.
- You need to ensure that you have these three documents:
- A living will – as we discussed in a previous post, a living will lets family and medical staff know what treatments you will want to receive or refuse, and the point at which the living will goes into effect.
- A health care power of attorney – this document delegates a person to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so.
- A letter of instruction – this document gives details about any special requests you may have such as funeral arrangements and people who should be contacted. Make sure that it includes the contact information for important people, your employer, and your insurance agent.
- Talk to your family and doctor – let your family members know about the choices you have made and give them a copy of your documents. Also, make sure that you doctor receives a copy and puts it with your permanent medical record.
- Review your papers periodically – As your life changes, make sure that those changes are reflected in your documents.
Offer yourself and your family peace of mind knowing that you have documents in place which express your wishes for you medical care in the event that you are incapacitated. We invite you to contact us and let the experienced estate planning attorneys at Alexander Law Firm help you get your vital documents in order today.