Estate planning may start with the division of assets, but that’s not all that it can do. Your estate plan can also be set up to plan for your medical future. This is often very important to consider for those who are making an estate plan as they age, when certain ailments and disorders may be more common.
One way to do this is to use an advance directive and leave a list of instructions. A common example is a do-not-resuscitate order. People are sometimes opposed to being kept on life-support.
But another tactic is to use a medical power of attorney. Why could this be better?
Choosing an agent
The advantage of a power of attorney is that it allows you to choose an agent who will represent you when necessary. Instead of leaving a list of medical instructions for future doctors to consider, you choose someone who is legally allowed to work with those doctors to make decisions in real time.
This can be far more beneficial because that person can consider all of the information at that moment. They can consult doctors and experts, and they can find out about the best possible treatment options. A list of instructions is inflexible, but a power of attorney can do much more.
For example, you may be generally against being kept on life-support for an extended period of time because of the expense. But you may be fine with being on life-support for a short time while you recover from an illness or an injury. With a power of attorney, your agent decides what is the best course of action and can actually follow your wishes.
As you can see, estate planning may include more tools than you realize. Be sure you consider what legal options you have.