Estate planning is a complex process. For many people, estate planning is overwhelming and results in many unanticipated costs. For other people, it is frightening to accept that they too will one day pass away. Despite how you might feel about estate planning, there are several important estate planning documents that every person should have including an advance healthcare directive. Health care directives play an important role in allowing a person to specify their choices for caregivers in case of illness or mental incapacity. In some cases, these directives also contain instructions about a person’s body should be handled following death. While they play an important role, statistics reveal that a large number of people are still deciding to not include advance healthcare directives in their estate plans. This article takes a brief look at why these directives are important as well as recommends some steps in creating one.
The Growing Importance of Advance Health Care Directives
Trusts and wills have existed for centuries, but health care directives are a new type of estate planning document. These documents first appeared in 1976, but by 1992 all 50 states had laws allowing advance healthcare directives. One of the reasons why advance healthcare directives have grown substantially in number is that they allow us to have certain control over certain issues related to estate administration and our death. One key feature that many health care directives feature is the ability to choose a third-party to act as an agent in case you become incapacitated. Besides making decisions while you are incapacitated, an agent will often also make sure that your wishes are carried out after your death.