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What common concerns do seniors face when making end of life decisions?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Many older Colorado residents have established estate plans, but sometimes those documents don’t include end-of-life directives. Without those instructions, loved ones frequently become confused when someone becomes incapacitated and cannot speak for themselves. End-of-life directives are an essential part of an estate plan to consider before you can’t speak for yourself.

Create a living will

A living will differs from the will you write to leave your worldly possessions to beneficiaries. Instead, it outlines your end-of-life preferences, making it an essential but sometimes overlooked part of estate planning. This document is often referred to as an advanced directive or a healthcare directive. It requires some complicated decisions about what you want your loved ones to do if you can speak for yourself. Among the decisions you can outline are:

  • Resuscitation methods if your heart stops beating
  • Conditions for mechanical ventilation
  • Tube feeding
  • Dialysis
  • Medications to treat infections
  • Palliative care
  • Organ and tissue donation
  • Donating your body for scientific research

Issuing financial power of attorney

This legal document goes hand-in-hand with a living will because if you can’t make medical decisions for yourself, most likely you won’t be able to make financial decisions either. Designating one or more individuals to make medical and financial decisions for you will take stress off your family. With an advanced directive on hand, your designated representative will have the ability to make decisions that you would agree with.

Developing your advanced directive plan

Adding an advanced directive to the estate planning process will reduce arguments among family members if you can’t speak for yourself. Older individuals should consider drafting these documents even if they are in good health. Illness can come on suddenly, leaving you in a state where you may have difficulty making decisions, even if you can. The best time to draft these documents is when you have no overlying concerns.

You may also want to review your estate planning documents when you add an advanced directive and power of attorney. Modifying your estate plan is possible anytime and ensures the documents meet your current needs.