Plan for your future with an advanced directive or living will

As we make our way down our chosen path of life, we sometimes get wrapped up in the now, and not think that someday we might be unable to function on our own. In this case, we need to consider planning drawing up a will and an advanced directive.

If an illness or a debilitating disease occurs, we might lament not having planning for a will or for an advance directive. This applies to civilians in Texas as well as to those in service to our country.

If and when the time comes you are unable to make decisions regarding your medical care, you must choose someone you know and trust who can act on your behalf.

The person you choose to have durable power of attorney will be a designee to act as the decision-maker in your health care. It should be a trusted individual, such as a friend, guardian or family member. In the absence of this choice, your physician will choose a person for you based on your preferences.

The individual should be aware of your plan for medical treatment and how those decisions should be carried out. You need to make your wishes clear in a written format while you still have the lucidity to do so.

An advance directive can be provided for any Veterans Affairs or civilian hospital. Your directions should include a living will as well as a durable power of attorney for health care. A living will includes an advanced directive because you specify what your choices consist of regarding future treatment options, such as a provision for sustaining life or any preferential medical care.

An advanced directive is your decision and is your right to make sure your wishes are respected.

It is advisable to provide a copy of your advanced directive to your doctor to be filed in your medical records, as well as for you to keep one in a safe place. It can be updated at any time.

Whether you are a veteran or a civilian, an unexpected state of incapacitation or serious illness may be too late to draw up a will or advanced directive. There is help out there to take care of this in advance whenever you decide you are ready to take this important step.

Source:ROTOVUE, “Make a living will or advance directive” Luis J. Alers-Dejesus, Feb. 12, 2014