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Empowering Healthcare Decisions: What You Need to Know about Planning

Each year in April, National Healthcare Decisions Day encourages us to have vital conversations and take proactive measures around advance care planning. As an Estate Planning Attorney, I am committed to guiding families and individuals through the journey of planning for peace of mind. This includes not only creating wills, trusts, and other necessary documents in preparation for an individual’s passing, but also making plans that will ensure the appropriate level of care in the event of their incapacitation. 

An Advance Health Care Directive is legal document that describes the medical care you do or do not want if you unable to make your own healthcare decisions; and, you are persistently unconscious, or have suffered significant and irreversible brain damage, and there is no reasonable expectation or hope of regaining awareness and higher mental functions no matter what is done. But it is so much more than a piece of paper; it’s about ensuring that your healthcare wishes are honored, your values respected, and your loved ones supported during critical moments. It’s a gift of peace of mind for yourself and your family.

This process can seem daunting at first. However, with the proper support, you and your loved ones can go through the necessary steps to secure both an Advance Health Care Directive and a Health Care Power of Attorney, which is a legal document that appoints a trusted person to make healthcare decisions in the event that you cannot. 

Step 1: Begin the Conversation

The first step towards effective advance care planning is initiating conversations with loved ones and healthcare providers. This involves expressing your values, priorities, and preferences regarding your future healthcare needs. I encourage you to break down barriers and work toward creating a culture where such discussions are encouraged and supported.

Step 2: Understand the Process

An Estate Planning Attorney will help you to navigate through the complexities of each decision and document that must be completed, ensuring that your wishes are legally documented and respected. We are committed to providing personalized guidance and support throughout the process. From understanding legal documentation to addressing specific concerns, we are here to help you make informed decisions that lead to peace of mind.

Step 3: Inform Your Loved Ones 

Once you have completed these important documents, ensure that your family members and loved ones are aware and know where to find them in case of an emergency. Ideally, you’ve discussed these matters with them before the documents were finalized, but if not, make them aware of your wishes and who has been appointed to carry them out.

National Healthcare Decisions Day serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of advance care planning. This month, and always, we seek to inspire, educate, and empower individuals to make informed decisions about their healthcare needs. Contact our St. Louis office at 314-303-3218 to take the next step. 

Written April 2024. 

**** The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.  This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

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