Your estate plan can handle your affairs after you pass, but it can also have an impact sooner than you think. There might be a very important document that you’re overlooking, which could make a big difference if you become incapacitated.

Only a third of adults have an advanced care directive as a part of their estate plan. This document can come into play when you’re unable to communicate your desired care, but long before the reading of your final will ever takes place. You can save your loved ones from guessing. Rather they can just refer to your instructions to provide you with the care that you want.

Wishes in writing

Living wills can have the authority to take effect while you’re still around:

  • Treatment: One of the biggest strengths of an advanced directive is your ability to outline the care you want. You can make decisions like what medicines doctors can use, whether tube feeding is allowed and what kind of life-sustaining measures you want.
  • Proxy: After you lay out all the standards of care you’re looking for, you’ll want to name someone to oversee it all. You might grant this person the legal ability to see your records, make medical decisions on your behalf and work closely with your attending doctors.
  • End-of-life: When the treatment phase is coming to a close, your wishes can still hold weight. You can choose the environment of your passing, from remaining at home to easing your passing with medications.

Getting the care that’s right for you could depend on whether you set a plan in stone before the unthinkable happens. It can be hard to face the possibilities, but preparing can help you and your family provide the proper care.