There are two healthcare documents that every adult should keep in a safe place, and a couple of conversations that everyone should have with their family members or trusted friends.

First, who do you want to make healthcare decisions for you, should you lose capacity to do so yourself? Most people think about being incapacitated as the result of dementia or being in a long-term coma, like the movies. But that is not always the case. Think about a car accident. A properly-drafted Healthcare Power of Attorney removes any uncertainty as to who will be making decisions for you. Texas allows the designation of an alternate agent as well.

Second, under any (or which) circumstances would you like life support removed? Many people have strong feelings about life-sustaining treatment, but hesitate to speak to their families about it. Not having this conversation can leave family members unaware of your wishes and unable to comply with them. Further, disagreements over life-sustaining treatment can drive a wedge between family members, and prove even more difficult in the case of a blended family.

Third, how would you like your life to be celebrated? Again, many people have strong preferences about burial, cremation or even which songs they would like to be played at a service. Having a conversation about your preferences sooner rather than later means that your wishes will be respected and removes uncertainty for your family members.

Having had these conversations with my own parents, I know how emotional and difficult they can be. But what is more difficult is leaving your family to make these decisions without any direction. When families are forced to make these decisions in a crisis situations, emotions can cloud judgment and relationships can become strained to the point of breaking.

Planning ahead – both by talking to your family or friends and executing a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Directive to Physicians – means peace of mind for you AND your family during a healthcare emergency. And that is worth the cost of a difficult conversation. Contact Balmos Law to start planning today.