By Holland McBurns, Managing Partner, Evergreen Elder Law

Who knew that 2020 was going to be a year where our health was going to be at the forefront of a global pandemic. People waiting in long lines to be tested for a virus. Having your temperature taken to have a meal at a restaurant. Oh, and at the restaurant, being seated 6 feet apart! And don’t forget your mask. Yet, while we practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash our hands a zillion times a day, we don’t plan for actually contracting the virus. We don’t plan for ending up in a hospital too sick to talk, too sick to understand what is going on, unable to make a decision about your health.

An Advance Health Care Directive is something everyone of us should have in place. Whether you are healthy as a horse, in the prime of life or an active senior citizen – this is a “must-have”. The Health Care Directive is a simple document that ensures your desires for medical treatment or end-of-life decisions are carried out. It allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions when you can’t make them yourself. That appointed person will have the Medical Power of Attorney to make decisions for you in regards to the use of medical devices, blood transfusions, surgery and other medical procedures.

Keep in mind, one state’s Healthcare Directive does not always work in another state. Some states require witnesses, some require the document to be notarized. While you can fill out the Directive on your own, you might want to consult an attorney if you have questions about your state requirements or questions about the document itself.

Social distancing and wearing masks are a good starting point but take the next step and make sure you are protected with a completed Healthcare Directive.