Do You Have a Healthcare Directive?
It’s a subject not many of us like to think about: how will our final days play out and what happens to our earthly possessions when we’ve gone home to the Lord? Estate planning answers some of those questions but not all of them. Wills and trusts are important components of estate planning but only go so far. Today on MoneyWise, financial planner and teacher Rob West explains why you also need a health care directive.
• This term may be relatively new but the concept is not. A health care directive is also called a living will, medical directive, or a durable health care power of attorney (although sometimes the medical power of attorney is a separate document).
• A health care directive is a legal document that spells out the individual’s wishes for care during illness and especially during the unfortunate event of dementia. It also specifies end of life decisions. The purpose is to give guidance if the individual can no longer communicate with caregivers and family. Ultimately, it can provide instructions on how the body should be handled after death.
• Only about 1 out of 3 of us have drawn up a health care directive. It’s not an expensive process and most state attorney general web sites offer a legal form you can use.
• To start, the first thing you need to do is choose your agent. This person is often a family member but doesn’t have to be. The agent will act on your behalf, making decisions according to your wishes if you can’t act yourself.
• Specify your wishes for end-of-life treatment and what should happen with your body afterwards. You then need to go over this in detail with your chosen agent. This is your chance to explain your decisions should the agent need to step in and advocate on your behalf.
In today’s show we also answer your questions:
• I have about $45,000 in credit card debt and have a low income. I live paycheck to paycheck. Should I do debt management or bankruptcy?
• What advice do you have to help “fund my family” and to get on a budget? I’ve made a lot of very bad financial decisions in my past.
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