Proactive estate planning may lessen your stress as you near the end of your life. Planning for your future is also a way to reduce familial tension and provide your surviving family members with ongoing comfort and support.

An advance directive allows you to clarify your desires for the type of medical attention you wish to receive if an accident or injury renders you incapacitated. It will also help family members know what type of care you desire to receive as you near the end of your life.

Using a living will

According to Penn Medicine, a living will discloses your preferences for medical care from receiving CPR and antibiotics to intubation to dialysis. You can also disclose whether or not you want health care professionals to hook you up to a ventilator if you can no longer breathe independently. You can also express your desire to receive artificial nutrition if your condition diminishes your ability to eat or drink.

Choosing a POA

In conjunction with creating an advance directive, it is necessary for you to delegate health care decisions to someone you trust. This person will function as your health care power of attorney or POA. The person you select should have a clear understanding of his or her role in advocating for your health and honoring the wishes you stated in your living will.

If circumstances such as a death or divorce create a need for you to modify who you chose to make your health care decisions, make sure you immediately update your plan to reflect the changes to maintain its integrity.