A health care proxy — sometimes called an advance healthcare directive — is a document that allows you to leave caregiving instructions in case mental or physical incapacitation keeps you from expressing your wishes. While it isn’t a necessary tool to include in your estate plan, it can help you prepare for life’s unexpected moments.

 

Elements of a health care proxy

You can include a number of different terms and conditions related to health care and end-of-life planning in a health care proxy. Some of the main elements of this document might include the following:

  • Treatment preferences: If you become ill unexpectedly and cannot express what treatment you would like, a health care proxy is the perfect place to plan for how you’d like to be cared for. This includes what medications you would or would not like to have administered to you. It can even include the approval or denial of chemotherapy treatment if that is something you need to address.
  • End-of-life services: A health care proxy is also the place to list which services you would like regarding the end of your life. You can leave instructions on whether or not you’d like to use life support, as well as feeding tubes and other life-sustaining measures. You might even consider leaving do not resuscitate (DNR) orders if that is important to you.
  • Organ donation: Organ donation is a common decision to make, and you can leave your specific wishes in a health care proxy. If you choose to donate your organs, you can even go so far as to include how you’d like them to be put to use. They can be used towards research, therapy, medical education and of course, transplants.

Additional benefits

Because a health care proxy is a document that ensures that your family and loved ones will honor your decisions and wishes, it can save them from the burden of having to make those difficult decisions themselves. By choosing to use a health care proxy, you may be saving your family from disagreements and disputes concerning your medical care.

Explore your options and secure your future

A health care proxy can greatly benefit your life and secure your future. If you’re considering adding one to your estate plan, an experienced estate planning attorney may be a helpful asset. They can help guide you through the process and ensure you have every necessary aspect covered.