As you do your estate planning, it is important to create a health care directive and a power of attorney. This can give your family members some guidance so that they know what to do if you cannot make your own decisions.
For instance, if you suffer a stroke and go into a coma, do you want them to use life support to keep you alive? Or would you prefer for them to allow you to pass away naturally if you could not live without machine assistance?
If you do not leave these instructions behind, it can be very stressful for your family. They have to ask questions like:
- What path would you have chosen?
- How did you feel when someone else was in a similar situation?
- What did you value during your life, and how can this decision reflect those values?
- What types of things did you believe gave meaning to your life?
- What are the odds of a recovery?
- What will your quality of life look like in the future?
- How expensive are both options, and should the cost factor into the decision?
- What types of treatment has the doctor suggested, and what might you think of any new treatment options?
Essentially, your family has to try to put themselves in your shoes and hope that they make the right call. They may forever question if they did so. As such, it is important to really understand all of the legal options you have to set up a plan in advance. This way, you give your family the information they need and you take the decision out of their hands.