It’s Richard Morgan at Morgan and DiSalvo, another back to the basics, a video newsletter series. Another important topic on the advanced directive for healthcare. This is the document where you appoint an agent to assist you with any of your non-financial related matters, your healthcare issues. Deal with doctors and hospitals, the health insurance companies, they’re a HIPAA representative. They get your healthcare information so they can assist you if you cannot do these things by yourself. In the document, you can use the state law form, which is fine. The one we use is modified off the state law form, but they’re fine.

The question you’re going to have to answer that’s a little different for each person is end of life decisions. Actually the advanced directive for healthcare is really a combination of two documents, the healthcare power of attorney where you appoint an agent to assist you, and a living will where you give advice about end of life decisions. The living will portion where you give advice, the question is what do you do. There are three options. Option number one is if you’re in an end of life situation, which is defined as either terminal condition, you’re going to die within a reasonable short period of time, there’s nothing anyone can do about it, you kind of go over the edge, you’re going down, they can’t pull you back, or you’re in a sleep type state, coma or vegetative with no reasonable expectation of coming out of it. You basically look like you’re sleeping, you’re not going to come out of it. It’s a bad, bad end of life situation.

There are three options. Option number one, you basically say bring in hospice, keep me comfortable, and let me go. Option number two is the opposite. That says I don’t care what you’ve got to do, hook me up, keep me alive as long as humanly possible. Option number three is a halfway house. It says well I like option number one, I don’t want to stay here forever, but I want one or more of the following things while I’m passing away, intravenous food, it’s a tube in your stomach, intravenous water, a tube in your arm, ventilator for breathing, tube in your throat, and CPR for a heart attack. One of the processes that we go through is talking to clients about these different ways to go. What I can tell you is in our practice about 90% go with option one, just bring in hospice and keep me comfortable. Way less than 1% will go with option number two, keep me alive no matter what. About 10% will go with option number three. Whatever you do, make sure you think about it for yourself.

Richard Morgan, Morgan and DiSalvo.

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