No one wants to contemplate his or her incapacity or even death, but everyone should.
“Who speaks for you if you are not able to speak for yourself?” begins a recent article on PBS “News Hour” story . “Who determines what kind of care you want at the end of life, how your finances are handled, how your estate will be distributed? You do, but only if you’ve prepared ahead of time. “
The documents are fairly straightforward, yet many people postpone taking action to complete them. It isn’t easy to think about your own incapacity or death. But these important legal and health care decisions not only protect your own interests, they protect your family and loved ones by clarifying the kinds of care you would like to receive if you are seriously ill.”
Among the documents cited in the story is an Advanced Health Care Directive. Also called Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or Health Care Proxy, the directive “saves your family from having to make very difficult decisions about your care in times of grief or crisis,” the story points out.
“Often used to decide about the use of feeding tubes, ventilators, pain management, organ donation and other issues when someone is unconscious or at the end of life. Each state has slightly different versions of the form, but a form from one state will be honored in another state.
“Hospitals and most doctors’ offices will provide you with the form upon request.”
Also mentioned are, naturally, a last will and testament as well as possible living trusts.
Having compiled these important papers, a person has one other important thing to do, the PBS piece states: let others know where they are.
“Have a central place for wills, trusts, powers of attorney, etc., or a document describing where they are so family members will know where to find these items. Include information about your Social Security number, safe deposit box, birth certificate, life insurance, contact information for attorney, and other important details.”