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Personal health care decisions important part of estate planning

If you missed National Healthcare Decision Day, which falls on April 16, don’t wait until it rolls around again next year. The purpose of the day is to bring attention to the importance of letting your loved ones and medical professionals know your preferences when you may not be able to let them know.

Making decisions about your health care can relieve a potential burden on your loved ones and add an important piece to your overall estate planningpicture.

When making health care decisions, several documents can be used to create a complete picture of your preferences. These include:

  • Living will    
  • Medical power of attorney
  • HIPPA release form

Making such health care decisions may seem like something to do when you are enjoying retirement, but a situation that requires these decisions could happen to anyone at any time. Here are some possible scenarios:

  • You are unconscious after a car accident.
  • Your spouse is injured in an accident along with you and neither of you can let doctors know your wishes. If your spouse is able to make health care decisions for you, does he or she know what your wishes are?  

No matter your age, it may be important to talk to a skilled New York estate planning attorney about your plans for potential medical care. This can be particularly wise to do if you have strong opinions about life-sustaining medicine. If you are ever unable to speak for yourself, it is very important to have someone designated to speak for you and for that person to understand your wishes. 

Source: KOLO 8, “Discussing Death for Better Healthcare,” Kendra Kostelecky, April 11, 2014

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