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Care planning should be a two-prong approach

National Health Care Decision Day is just behind us for the year. While April 16 has passed, that isn't an excuse to wait until next year to take care of advanced care planning. When you are deciding how you will handle potential end-of-life decisions, you should make sure that you not only put your wishes in writing but that you also speak to your loved ones about those wishes. This two-prong approach to care planning serves several purposes.

First, speaking to your loved ones ahead of time about your wishes for your final days lets them have a chance to ask you questions and get clarification. This can help to reduce the stress and anxiety that might otherwise be present during those final days. When they know your wishes, they can execute them without having to be burdened by having to make all the decisions themselves.

Second, laying out your end-of-life plans can take some of the stress off of you. If something happens and your health starts to decline, you have the peace of mind knowing that you have made plans for what you want for, and from, your family.

Third, advanced care planning lets you appoint a person who can make decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself. This gives you the opportunity to choose a person you know and trust. In the absence of this, there might be some contention about who will get to make those decisions for you.

If you have questions about advanced care planning in California at any point during the planning process, you should get those questions answered prior to finalizing your care plan. The same is true when you periodically review your care plan and other estate documents, which should be done at intervals.

Source: Huffington Post, "3 Reasons to Do Advance Care Planning on National Health Care Decisions Day" Brad Stulberg, Apr. 09, 2014

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