The idea of estate planning is inextricably linked with last wills and the allocation of personal assets. However, the creation of a financial legacy is only one part of what an estate plan often includes. 

Your estate plan can also address the potential medical issues you could experience in the future, providing guidance for your physician, help for your loved ones and peace of mind for you. The creation of both an advance medical directive and a medical power of attorney can help round out your estate plan.

An advance medical directive provides instructions on medical care

It is common for people to discuss their medical wishes and preferences with their loved ones. Perhaps you have an opportunity to have such a discussion when a member of your family wines up in the hospital or after are watching a movie with some kind of tragic medical event. 

Still, even if you have talked about your preferences in the past, your family may struggle to remember those wishes, especially in a moment of stress. Committing each of your medical preferences to writing and authorizing specific kinds of care in an advance medical directive can ensure that both your family members and the medical care providers taking care of you will know what your wishes are.

A medical power of attorney lets someone make choices when you can’t

No matter how thorough you may be in the creation of your advance medical directive, the potential exists for you to experienced a medical event that you can’t foresee. The creation of a medical power of attorney authorizes someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. 

Naming someone other than your spouse or children is often a good idea, as the stress of your incapacitation or hospitalization may already be too much. Instead of forcing them to make medical decisions on your behalf, you can allocate that responsibility to someone who will be less emotionally impacted by your medical condition.