Thinking about what will happen if you experience a stroke or if you get into a car crash that leaves you on life support is unpleasant. There is an infinite number of excuses that can allow people to indefinitely procrastinate regarding estate planning, especially when it comes to the creation of living wills and advance medical directives.
Despite being unpleasant, estate planning is important both to you and the people you love and support. There are a few compelling reasons to consider sitting down and creating an advanced medical directive sooner rather than later.
If your family errs on the side of caution, it could cost your legacy
If you have substantial resources and assets, you may not worry about medical care because you assume you will receive the best treatment available. However, in a situation that results in brain death, your family could diminish your entire estate by covering the costs of life support, leaving them with little.
Some people will assume that their loved one wants to be kept alive through any measures necessary and will diminish all financial assets that they have access to in the attempt to provide that care. Leaving guidance for your loved ones will alleviate their sense of obligation and help them make decisions that reflect your true preferences.
The people who love you will feel distressed about making decisions for you
Even if you have had extended conversations about your medical preferences in the past, your loved ones may not recall the conversation or its details in a moment of stress. Even if they do remember the conversation, you can expect that the pressure to make medical decisions on your behalf will impact their mental health and happiness.
Creating an advance medical directive that clearly explains your wishes will take the pressure off your loved ones in a time when they are already experiencing emotional hardship.
It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it
Many people will never find themselves in a situation where they experience true incapacitation and require the health offered through an advance medical directive.
Although only a tiny portion of adults will ever wind up in the situation where other people must make medical decisions for them, it is better for your peace of mind and the mental health of your loved ones to have guidance and documents in place. It empowers certain people to make decisions if you need them.
Whether you have avoided estate planning entirely or have a last will and do not have a living will, sitting down to think about your medical preferences now could make a big difference for the people you love in the future.