How Can I Convey My Health Care Wishes?

You may know exactly how you would handle a certain medical situation – but if you don’t tell your family, how will they know? This becomes very important if your family is faced with making decisions on your behalf. We've worked with thousands of clients who have gone through this process and have found that communication makes a big difference. By taking this important step of talking with your family now, you can save confusion later.

Call a family meeting

One option is to call a family meeting and spell out everything. If you are uncomfortable discussing this topic in person, though, or believe your family may bring up questions you can’t answer, it may be a good idea to invite your financial advisor to the meeting. For specifics, see what to share with family members.

Talking about these topics can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be. For more tips on how to communicate your wishes, watch our Family Financial Conversations video.

Put it in writing

As an extra safeguard, consider putting everything down legally in writing. Talk to your estate-planning attorney about whether the following would be good for your situation:

  • Health care directive or living will – This document can spell out your wishes regarding your health care, including life-prolonging measures if you’re not able to make these decisions due to illness or incapacity. However, it doesn’t give anyone the authority to make these decisions for you – it simply documents your wishes.
  • Health care power of attorney (POA) – With a health care POA, you determine who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so. This document can be as broad or as narrow as you like – you're in control. But keep in mind that a POA generally ends when you die, so you’ll want to explore other estate-planning documents, such as a will. Your financial advisor and estate-planning attorney can partner with you to determine what is best for your situation.

State laws vary on how health care POAs and living wills are interpreted and executed, so you’ll want to be sure your documents are tailored to you. To do this, discuss your situation with your estate-planning attorney and financial advisor before making any decisions.

How we can help

You know what you want regarding your health care. Your financial advisor can work with you to help ensure your wishes are carried out.

Important Information:

Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

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