When you are engaged in long term planning during these technologically advanced times the exercise extends beyond the financial matters that are typically associated with estate planning. People are living longer than ever, and many are very surprised to hear that the fasted growing segment of the population is people 85 years of age and over. For this reason it is important to prepare for the inevitable realities of aging, not just from a financial standpoint but from a health care perspective as well.
The reality is that most of us do not pass away on a Tuesday after feeling alive, alert, and well on Monday. The end of your life may very well include a period of disability or incapacitation, and you may not be in a position to make your own medical decisions at some point in time. For this reason advance directives have become a recommended component to every holistic estate plan, and one very useful and comprehensive directive is known as Five Wishes.
With Five Wishes you simply address five end of life issues that involve personal choices. Your answers to these questions would make your wishes known:
- Who would you choose to make medical decisions for you if you couldn’t do it for yourself?
- Which medical treatments or life support measures would you accept and which would you reject?
- What are you personal and comfort care preferences?
- How would you like others to treat you?
- What final thoughts would you like to pass along?
The Five Wishes document provides a way to make sure that your family knows how you would like to proceed as your life winds down, taking the burden of difficult decision making off their shoulders. At the same time, by stating your preferences you gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have left nothing undone as the end of life nears.