One of the things that you need to prepare for when you are planning your estate is the possibility of falling ill and ultimately becoming incapacitated as you face a terminal medical condition. Of course this is not a pleasant subject to discuss, but it is a reality that many people face at the end of their lives. If a time comes when you can’t communicate your wishes and make important medical and personal decisions, who will do it for you?
When you do decide to address these incapacitation issues, the whole scenario is rather complicated and it can be hard to know where to start. As a response an advance directive known as “Five Wishes” was created, and it was originally only used in Florida when it was first put to use in 1996. Since then it has become a legally recognized advance directive in 41 additional state, including Connecticut. Five Wishes breaks down incapacitation and possible end-of-life issues into five simple questions:
- Who do you want to make medical decisions in your behalf?
- What types of procedures will you allow and disallow?
- What is your desired comfort level?
- How do you want to be treated by others?
- What do you want your loved ones to know?
By answering these five rather basic and straightforward questions you cover all of your bases in the event of incapacitation. Discussing preparation for the end of life period is part of this, addressing issues like hospice care, pain control, whether or not you would like to remain at home, and what type of spiritual practices you would approve of in your behalf. By answering the last question you pass along your final words to your loved ones, and you express your desires concerning burial or cremation and funeral arrangements. Advance directives can come across as cold, confusing and purely contractual, and as a response Five Wishes was created to humanize the process of end of life planning.