When you hear terms such as “living wills,” “healthcare agent” and “healthcare power of attorney,” you probably think of elderly people close to the end of their lives. If you’re in your 30s, 40s or even 50s, you might not see the need to take the time to establish these documents with an attorney. But there are a few key reasons why it’s essential for you to put your healthcare directives in place, even when you’re still young.
What they do
Healthcare directives are legal documents that allow you to give directions concerning your medical care in case you can’t speak for yourself. In other words, now that you’re healthy, you can make decisions for yourself in the future that you might not be able to make then.
Healthcare directives will come into effect if something happens to you and you’re still alive, but unable to think clearly or to speak. For example, if you get into a car accident and you are in a coma, doctors will be able to know what your wishes are concerning your medical care through your healthcare directives.
A tragic accident can happen to anyone at any age. Thousands of people are in car accidents every single day in this country, and their injuries vary from mild to severe. Even if you aren’t in a coma, you could suffer memory loss or other cognitive limitations as a result of a disease or accident, that leave you unable to make rational decisions.
Another tremendous advantage of having your healthcare directives in place is that you can spare your loved ones the stress of making those difficult decisions for you. If they know exactly what your desires are, they won’t have to fight over what to do in the moment while you are suffering.
You will hopefully never need your advance healthcare directive documents. But in the event that the unthinkable happens, your loved ones will be so grateful to you for having had the foresight to establish them as part of your estate plan – even when you are young.