Be Prepared: Designate a Power of Attorney
Life is unpredictable, but your end-of-life plan shouldn’t be. While it is unpleasant to think about, end-of-life planning is an incredibly important task that every adult, regardless of age, should take the time to do.
The first step to end-of-life planning is to designate a power of attorney who may make decisions on your behalf. This is usually a spouse or child depending on your situation. Make sure this person is someone who you trust, and who you feel can handle the responsibility of making life or death healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf.
Next, you’ll need to create a living will that outlines your wishes in the event that you are unable to make important medical choices for yourself. This document will be used by your family, power of attorney and doctors to carry out your wishes. Typically, this document includes important information like:
- Specific directions about what type of life-saving care you want or do not want and for how long
- Organ/tissue donation wishes
- Instructions for palliative care
- Religious or spiritual considerations
Your living will is legally binding, so you may need to seek the help of a lawyer if you are not familiar with these documents. It is important to note that you will never be able to create a living will that covers every possibility, so your power of attorney will take over in situations not specifically outlined in your will.
Ultimately, creating a living will is a way to help ease the pain for your loved ones in a difficult time where there are many challenging decisions to make. These instructions will give your loved ones some peace of mind as they will know that they are honoring your final requests.