The 6th Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day is coming up soon–April 16, 2013, to be precise–and it’s a great opportunity to consider planning for health care decisions if you’re ever unable to make those decisions for yourself. This is one of the issues I talk about with my estate planning clients, and while it can be an uncomfortable topic, it’s better to make these decisions ahead of time instead of making them when a serious injury or illness occurs.
It’s important to get these things in writing, and often advanced care planning will consist of a durable power of attorney for health care decisions, which appoints someone to make decisions for you if you cannot, and an advanced care directive or living will, which explains your wishes for life-prolonging treatments if you have a terminal condition. You may also want to consider whether or not you want to donate your organs at your death.
For Missourians, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office has a useful brochure about end-of-life decisions that can serve as a workbook to go through many of these issues.