It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you don’t have a medical emergency plan in place you’re putting yourself and your loved ones at risk. Medical emergencies require you to have the right legal documents in order – especially if you have a spouse or children.
There are two essential documents you need to have for medical emergencies: an Advanced Medical Directive and a Living Will.
- Advanced Medical Directive – This legal document will select a person to make medical decisions on your behalf. You can select your spouse, a parent or a close friend. Check with your estate planning attorney to make sure your state doesn’t limit who you can select for this fiduciary role; some states require you to only select spouses or blood relatives.
- Living Will – Your Living Will is the document that tells your fiduciary what medical procedures, life-saving treatments and other medical-related treatments can be done on your behalf.
These documents only go into effect when you become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for yourself.
Selecting Your Fiduciary
Before selecting an agent to operate on your behalf, think carefully about the role they’re filling. This person will make decisions on your behalf that impact your quality of life. Therefore, you will want to select someone you trust and someone you know will honor your wishes set out in your Living Will. While they are held accountable for their actions and can be taken to court for not honoring your decisions, it is difficult to prove they weren’t operating in your best interests. So, make sure the person you choose is someone you trust with your life – literally.