Thinking about a time when you are ill or nearing the end of life is uncomfortable but crucial. Most people want to retain control over their healthcare for as long as possible. However, not enough realize that estate planning can help you do just that.
In estate planning, you have options to choose the medical care you prefer should you reach a point where you cannot express your wishes. These decisions require careful consideration of at least three things: your elder years, the healthcare you desire and your eventual death.
Advance healthcare directives offer peace of mind
What is an advance healthcare directive? It is a document that all estate plans should contain. It allows you to specify the treatments you want to receive and those you do not if you are incapacitated and/or approaching death. It also allows you to address how and where your death occurs.
When deciding what to include in your directive, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want life-prolonging aid? For example, if you enter a vegetative state, do you wish to linger or refuse life-prolonging treatment (breathing assistance, etc.).
- Do you want to die in your home or a hospital/facility? Many infirm elder patients would prefer to die at home, and you can address that in your directive.
- Are there any medical treatments you do not want to receive? Examples include surgeries, assisted feeding or hydration and CPR, to name a few.
In New Jersey, terminally ill residents of sound mind can choose to end their own lives with medical assistance (a drug). You can address this in your estate plan, but you will likely have to administer the medication yourself without help from anyone else. If you are too sick to do it yourself, this wish may go unfilled.
Learning more about estate planning and advance healthcare directives can help you make these difficult end-of-life decisions and begin enjoying the peace of mind you deserve.