“Putting your affairs in order” probably brings making a will and other plans for your assets to mind — but that’s only one component of an effective plan for your future.
You should also have a health care proxy in place and an agent designated to act on your behalf for health care decisions if you ever become incapacitated prior to your death.
Living wills are not always legally recognized in this state, which is why it’s essential to go through a few extra steps. That’s the only way to ensure that you receive the type of medical care you want in the future if you’re unable to speak for yourself.
What’s a health care proxy?
Often called advanced medical directives, the health care proxy is the documentation that outlines your health care wishes. This includes things like whether you want intravenous nutrition and hydration if you’re otherwise unresponsive. It may also include things like a “Do Not Resuscitate” order. The paperwork may also include things like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) authorizations for your health care agent (so that they can access your medical records without any restrictions).
What’s a health care agent?
Your health care agent is the person you’ve chosen to direct your medical care should you be unable to do so on your own. This person is identified in your health care proxy papers. They may need to make decisions that are not covered in your health care proxy and authorize medical procedures, your transfer to a nursing facility and more.
Getting your health care proxy and the related documents prepared as soon as possible is important. You should also ensure that you review these periodically to check whether they still meet your wishes or not. Having all of this in order can give you peace of mind in case something happens to you.