When you write your will in California, you’re not just planning for your death. You’re also planning for the time leading up to your death. If you ever end up incapacitated, it’s important to make decisions ahead of time before someone else makes them for you.
What should you include your incapacity plans?
You don’t know exactly what’s going to happen when you start estate planning, but you can always plan for the worst. Your estate planning attorney might recommend including a HIPAA release in your will. Without a HIPAA release, doctors won’t be able to discuss your condition with your friends or family members. You can name people in your HIPAA release that are eligible to receive confidential information about your medical condition.
If you don’t want doctors to attempt to resuscitate you or use CPR, you’ll have to include a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order in your will. Some people sign a DNR because they have health conditions that could leave them disabled or incapacitated after a doctor performs CPR. You might also sign a DNR if you have a terminal illness.
You could also choose a health care proxy who can make decisions on your behalf. Giving control to another person might sound a little frightening, but if you don’t choose someone now, you don’t know who might end up making decisions for you. Make sure you choose a trusted person who will act in your best interests if you’re ever incapacitated.
When should you start making an incapacity plan?
Even if you’re young, it’s never too early to make an incapacity plan. An attorney could help you choose someone for power of attorney, write a living will and complete other tasks. It might not be a pleasant subject to talk about, but it’s better to make decisions now when you’re of sound mind.