So, I’ve been reading Suze Orman’s The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom and there was one thing that really hit home: DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE (aka – Advance Health Care Directive – this link is specifically for California. Please look at your state’s government page for the correct forms).
My first thoughts:
And you, too, need to take care of this right now!
What is an Advance Health Care Directive?
According to the Office of the Attorney General, “An advance health care directive lets your physician, family and friends know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or don’t want at the end of life, your desire for diagnostic testing, surgical procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and organ donation.”
So, you think, “Why do I need one? I am not at the end-of-life?” I thought the same thing. But what if you get in an accident and don’t die right away? What if you are on life support? Do you trust just anyone to take care of you end-of-life issues, both emotional and financial? Do you feel okay putting the emotional burden on someone to take care of your affairs? You might think that your spouse would immediately get the rights to make those decisions for you, but that may not always be the case.
Read the excerpts of this story from Suze’s book:
Three months later I came home to find a message on our answering machine, to get down to the hospital as soon as possible…
Dennis had been in an accident at work…tubes in and out of his body. …They were acting as if he were already dead. There was little hope that Dennis would ever come off those machines.
I kept screaming over and over, “But I promised! No machines!”
The Doctor said in order for us to disconnect him, I needed to have a something or other for health care. I didn’t have it in writing…I kept telling them that.
…when Dennis’s siter stepped in. She said it would be over her dead body that they would disconnect these machines.
That was 8 years ago… Dennis is still on the machines
Crazy, huh? A wife having to watch her husband on the machine for 8 years! Unable to keep her promise.
For the sake of every one of you reading this book, I hope that you won’t ever be incapacitated or hospitalized, and that a long healthy life awaits you. But in case it doesn’t, I urge you to make the simple arrangements for durable power of attorney for health care, for yourself and for the people you love. It might be one of the most important documents you’ll ever sign!
The first part of putting durable power of attorney for health care in place is deciding what you would want to have happen to you if you were in a situation like Dennis’s. You must decide in whose hands you want to put your life-who, that is, will make the final decision to take you off life support, if the decision ever has to be made. This person is known as your agent, and it is best to have two alternatives, or coagents, in case the person you have chosen is not available.
How do you set up a durable power of attorney for health care?
The form is free of charge, at every hospital. Or check your state’s Attorney General’s website. Just make sure you get the form that is valid in your state (if you have trouble finding one for your state, please email me and I will be happy to find the form for you). Then file copies of the filled out form to your doctor, agents, and coagents. That is it.
Make sure and take care of YOU!