When creating a will, you will list all kinds of information including who you want to have some of your most prized personal possessions and guardianship of any minor children. However, some people believe that their last will and testament is also the place to lay out their health-care wishes in the event that they become incapacitated in some way.
A will is definitely not the place to talk about your healthcare wishes as no one will be looking at your will until you have passed away. Obviously, you want them to know your healthcare wishes before that happens! What you need is something called a healthcare directive. Some states refer to these as living wills which may have caused some of the confusion when people think that they’re supposed to put that information in their last will and testament.
In a healthcare directive, you will name someone who is going to be your durable power of attorney for health care. This person will carry out your wishes and make sure that you are cared for in your time of need. You may also need a power of attorney for financial matters if you are going to be incapacitated for a long time. Sometimes it’s fine to have the same person do both if you trust them with your healthcare and money matters.
To create a healthcare directive, it’s very important to speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney who can walk you through the process and make sure that things are drawn up legally. You want to make sure that your document is set in stone and able to be easily utilized by your loved ones in the event that you cannot make decisions for yourself.