Advance Directives: Your ‘Just in Case’ Documents
No one wants to envision a time when they cannot make their own health care decisions. But, if you suddenly found yourself unable to speak for yourself, who would you want to speak for you? Who would you choose to make sure your decisions concerning your health care are honored?
Just in case you are ever incapacitated, you need a set of formal documents referred to as Advance Directives to ensure your health care decisions are honored. Without these ‘just in case’ documents, your family members and doctors are left to guess what you would want.
In most cases, your advance directives will include the following documents:
A Health Care or Medical Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. This document names a specific person to represent you. This will give this person the rights to:
- Make medical decisions that are not covered in your living will
- Enforce your healthcare wishes in court if necessary
- Hire and fire doctors and medical workers overseeing your treatment
- Access medical records
- Provide visitation rights
The person you designate as your representative can never contradict the terms of your Living Will. Also, a physician must conclude that the person is unable to make their own decisions and a second doctor must agree before the medical power of attorney goes into effect. Other Advance Directives include:
Living Will. A Living Will states which life sustaining medical treatments you would want or refuse if your life is in jeopardy and you are not able to express your wishes.
After-death wishes. These may include your decisions such as organ and tissue donation.
Once you prepare your advance directives, it will be up to you to share these documents with your family, your medical team and those who will be entrusted to carry out your directives. Do not store them in a safety deposit box or a hidden location where they may go unnoticed in an emergency situation.
Advance Directives are not the same thing as a Last Will and Testament. If you have Medicare, Part B covers voluntary Advance Care Planning as part of the Medicare Wellness Visit. Your physician can discuss these with you. You can also download advance directive forms online or contact your local office on aging, your state health department or an attorney to learn more.
Call or email me with your questions concerning your insurance needs, including life, health, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplements. I will help you find a plan that works for you. My email address is Lmutsko@mutskoinsurance.com or call 440-255-5700.
Laura Mutsko is a licensed insurance broker offering a complete line of health and life insurance products, including Individual, Group and Family Health, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Supplement Plans, Medicare Part D Prescription Coverage, Vision, Dental and Life Insurance. Mutsko Insurance Services, LLC is located at 6982 Spinach Drive in Mentor, Ohio.