You may be like most people who think that an estate plan is only for protection of your financial assets. However, a properly executed estate plan can be also be set-up to protect your health and end of life care.

If you are ever incapacitated because of a health problem or an injury, important decisions will need to be addressed about your care. An estate plan gives you the opportunity to guide doctors and medical staff on how you want to be taken care of. Having your wishes known will eliminate any confusion about how to proceed with your care. It will also allow family members to not have to deal with the stress of having to make these decisions on your behalf.

Your health care directive

There are three types of advanced health care directives you can choose from and have prepared. These are a living will, a durable power of attorney of health care and a do-not-resuscitate order.

Living will

You can set-up a living will to make your preferences known as to the type of care you would like to receive. If a prognosis on your care is not clear or family members have a disagreement about the course of your care, having a directive in place is the best way to address your health care needs.

Durable power of attorney

You may also decide to prepare durable power of attorney for your health care. By doing this, you are enabling a person of your choosing to handle as much or as little of your health care plans as you wish if you are to become incapacitated. The person you designate this responsibility to will need to accept this obligation and will need to sign the power of attorney document.

Do-not-resuscitate

Sometimes a do not resuscitate order is referred to as “allow natural death.” Hospital staff will always try to resuscitate a patient unless there are explicit instructions against it. A do-not-resuscitate order is part of your living will and will not affect any treatments you may need that will not require CPR or intubation.

When it comes to estate planning, there is more to it than just planning for your asset distribution. You should take the time to speak with an estate planning professional who can explain all the details of a healthcare directive.