In estate planning, an individual takes legal and financial actions to prepare their estate for their death, including designating a personal representative and beneficiaries. But it begs the question, is death the worst thing to happen to a person? Would it not be worse to continue living a life you did not choose and cannot change because of mental and physical incapacity?
Advanced care planning is a vital element of estate planning. It can help you plan for the worst possible scenarios in life, such as if you become permanently unconscious or develop a terminal condition.
What is advanced care planning and why is it important?
Advanced care planning is the process of choosing the medical care you will receive if you become critically sick and can no longer communicate your wishes. It allows you to appoint a person you can rely on to make medical decisions on your behalf, depending on the methods you will incorporate in your estate plan. Connecticut laws give an individual the opportunity to do the following:
- Appoint a health care representative
- Declare your instructions regarding end-of-life decisions
- Donate organs
- Assign a conservator of the person and/or estate
Advanced care planning gives you the avenue to exercise your right to make health care decisions for yourself. These are your advanced medical directives. You have a right to choose and refuse extraordinary measures of medical treatment, especially if they have the potential to diminish your quality of life.
When should you begin advanced care planning?
Advanced care planning can begin at any age. It is not only for elderly or terminally ill individuals. Advance directives are your instructions for any condition that inhibits you from making active and sound decisions regarding your medical care. It would be best to do it while you can still decide for yourself.