As people get older, ailing health may become more of an issue. Some people have strong opinions about what types of medical interventions they would want if they were seriously ill or injured.

An important part of estate planning is outlining what to do in the event of medical or mental incapacitation. The Advanced Healthcare Directive is a legal document that details one’s medical wishes.

What to include in the directive

According to the State of California Office of Attorney General, the Healthcare Directive allows someone to give specific instructions about all facets of healthcare. Some of the wishes to consider and include are

  • Types of pain relief, if any
  • Use of artificial hydration and nutrition
  • Life-sustaining treatment or the withdrawal of such treatment
  • End-of-life decisions
  • Donation of tissues and organs upon death
  • Consent or consent refusal for any treatment or care to affect mental or physical condition

A directive can just contain these instructions, which a medical team must comply with. However, this form can also name a power of attorney, which is a person who will make sure healthcare workers follow the wishes.

How to choose a power of attorney

A power of attorney may also make medical decisions, even if they are not outlined in the directive. The Mayo Clinic gives advice on how to choose this person who will be potentially making important life-saving decisions. An important factor is that the person is trustworthy and is willing to stand up to others who may not agree with all care decisions. This person cannot be a part of the healthcare team, but he or she should be able to feel comfortable asking questions to the team about medical issues and care.