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Britt Erica Tunick is an award winning financial journalist who has spent the past 17 years writing about virtually every aspect of finance.

Important Measures You Should Have in Place Regarding Your Healthcare

Important Measures You Should Have in Place Regarding Your Healthcare

By Britt Erica Tunick

When it comes to things of value, your health is at the top of the list. So, it is important to know how you would like to handle things if you should ever become seriously ill. And there is no better reminder of this than a global pandemic. If you haven’t yet taken the time to set up a living will or a health care proxy, now is the time to do so.

While nobody likes to think about handing over responsibility for their health care or life and death decisions to others, failing to lay out your wishes in a legally binding format could result in someone else being forced to make decisions on your behalf if you fall seriously ill and are unable to communicate your wishes.

A living will is a legal document that outlines your wishes should you ever wind up in a life or death situation where you are unconscious and unable to make medical decisions on your own behalf. Individuals can use a living will to outline their desires regarding specific medical treatments or life-extending measures, including whether or not they would like extreme measures taken should they need to be resuscitated.

As with traditional wills, you do not need an attorney to put together a living will. But, since requirements vary from state to state in the same way that they do with traditional wills, if you choose to draft it yourself, make sure that you know what is required for doctors or medical workers to be able to legally enforce your wishes if there is ever a need to do so. Places that may have living will templates available for you to use include your doctor, area hospitals, or organizations such as The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, among others.

While creating a living will is incredibly important, it is equally important to make sure there are key people in your life such as a spouse or close friend who have a copy of your living will or know where to find it, as there are certain medical procedures that cannot be easily reversed after they have been performed, even if they are expressly against your wishes. Given this reality, it is best to ensure that the people in your life most likely to be available should critical health decisions ever need to be made on your behalf know what your wishes are and are able to execute them from the onset.

In addition to a living will, you should also create a health care proxy, which is essentially a declaration that you have given someone who is at least 18 years old the ability to make medical care decisions on your behalf. Once again, there is an option to do it yourself, and it just requires a signed paper copy of your wishes to delegate to someone these responsibilities, along with signatures from two other adults as witnesses. In choosing the person/people you name in your health care proxy, make sure that they are individuals whom you can trust to follow your wishes and who have the emotional capacity to follow through with your wishes in the event that your desires include something like a do not resuscitate order.