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Plan for your medical care if you become incapacitated

Thinking about becoming incapacitated is a difficult thing to do. When you are creating an estate plan, this is one of the decisions that you will have to make. Including a living will in your estate plan is usually a good idea, but it does require that you think about the unthinkable.

Your living will is a document that outlines what type of life- prolonging measures you want to have and those that you aren't willing to use. Because many people feel very strongly about these, it is imperative that you spell it all out so that everyone who is around you in those days knows your position.

This document should include specific information. For example, if you don't want to be placed on life support under any circumstances, you need to write that out. If you are only willing to accept intravenous nutrition and hydration but nothing else to prolong your life, put that in the living will.

Some people assume that their loved ones will know their wishes and will stand up for those. Just saying that they will know might not be enough from a legal standpoint. There is a chance that your doctor won't follow the instructions of someone who isn't you.

You do have the option of naming someone to be your health care agent. This person is give power of attorney over health care and can make decisions on your behalf. By naming this person and having a living will, you can provide a comprehensive guide for what you want and have someone who can stand up for you when you aren't able to do so on your own.

Source: FindLaw, "Should You Consider a Living Will?," accessed March 30, 2018

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