Have you ever thought about who would make your health care decisions in the event that you could not make them yourself? When you are healthy and enjoying life, it’s not something that we think about. Why? Because we don’t like to think about those situations. We don’t like to have these conversations with our loved ones, and we like to say to ourselves “if I don’t think about it, then it won’t happen.” But, we know that the only certainty in life is death, so it’s something we need to think about. So, who would make those decisions? And what are your wishes regarding end of life health care? How do you express these wishes so that the right people know what they are?
Executing a Health Care Representative is the answer to all of these questions.
A Health Care Representative is a person you name in a document that you sign while you are competent to do so. This names the person that will make all of your health care decisions. However, not only does this form provide the name of a person whom the doctors can turn to for answers to medical care questions, it also has instructions for the named health care representative so that they can abide by the wishes of the person they have to make this decision for. These instructions are invaluable. Not only do they provide essential guidance to your named health care representative, it allows for peace of mind for your representative when making these tough decisions knowing that they are doing what you would have wanted done if you were capable of making that decision yourself.
If you do not have a Health Care Representative named, The State of Indiana assumes that your spouse will make these decisions on your behalf, if you are married. If you are not married or your spouse has predeceased you, then any of your adult children can be asked to make these decisions. The danger in allowing the State of Indiana to make these decisions is two-fold: it does not allow for your wishes to come through if they differ and second, if there is any disagreement between the family members, then they are going to court to establish a guardianship over you.
Having your wishes expressed in a legal document regarding your care is the best option when making sure your wishes are followed regarding your health care in a situation where you are not capable of expressing them yourself.
Hunter Estate & Elder Law offers free educational workshops in Fishers, Noblesville, Indianapolis, and Greenwood on estate planning and asset protection. Register online at: HunterLawOffice.net