Advance medical directives should be part of your financial and estate planning. In case you are ill or injured, unable to express your own desires about medical care, such directives can help you receive the care you’d want. Here are some of the documents you might include:
Living will. This specifies the medical treatments and life-sustaining measures you want and those you don’t want. You can say whether you want mechanical breathing, tube feeding or resuscitation.
Health care proxy. Also known as a medical power of attorney, this document names your healthcare agent. This agent will be authorized to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
HIPAA authorization. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that requires patients’ health care information to be kept private. With a HIPAA authorization, you can permit your medical records to be released to the person you name.
Organ donation card. By carrying this card, you give permission for one or more organs to be donated in case of death.
For the health care proxy and HIPAA authorization, be sure to name someone you trust absolutely. Ideally, you should name one primary agent and two successor agents.