No one knows when an accident or illness may result in them being incapacitated. Incapacitation can be temporary, such as if you’re unconscious during surgery or you were placed into a medically induced coma after a crash. It can also be more permanent, such as if you suffer a serious brain injury or are dealing with a terminal illness that impacts cognition.
To help in those situations, you should have someone appointed as your health care power of attorney. You should also have other medical decision-making documents in place, such as your Do-Not-Resuscitate order and your living will with an advance directive if you want one.
Why have a living will or other advance directive?
If you find yourself unable to make decisions for yourself due to an injury or illness, having your living will and advance directive set up is essential. Those documents can go over your choices, such as your choice of a caretaker or medical provider. You can also include a DNR and other documents to detail your preferences for end-of-life care.
Do you need a health care power of attorney?
You should have a health care power of attorney (POA). If you choose not to have a health care POA, then the medical team or others may end up making medical decisions on your behalf if you can’t make them yourself. You may or may not agree with their decisions.
You’ll want to take time to learn more about what you can do to protect yourself in the case of incapacitation. Good estate planning now can help make sure you get the care you need in the future if you are hurt or fall ill.