Monday, May 25, 2015

Do you have an advanced directive of health?

The Extension Association of Quay County is interested in learning more about Estate Planning, so they selected some topics for their monthly programs.  In May their topic was living wills and medical powers of attorney.  We decided to offered a public program, so I researched and put together a powerpoint.  During my research I learned that in New Mexico these forms are together in one document called an Advanced Directive of Health.  Here are a few things I learned during my research.

These documents are for anyone over 18.  You never know when tragedy might strike and these forms can help your loved ones know what your wishes are when it comes to issues like life support.  Families are forced to make these decisions during highly emotional times and knowing your wishes can make it easier.

The forms can also help minimize fighting among family members when they disagree about the course of treatment.  Having your wishes in writing and naming one person who has the power to make the decision can help.  Be sure to discuss your wishes with the person you chose and if possible let the rest of your family know your wishes.

The forms are easy to fill out and in NM they just have to be witnessed.  You can get one at a hospital, clinic or online.  You should make several copies of your signed directive and give one to your representative, doctor, hospital, and others you feel need the form.  Be sure to keep one with you when you travel.

You may change your directives at any time as long as you are considered of sound mind.  Make sure when you update or change your directives, you give a new copy to all of the people you gave the original one to.  It is helpful to keep a list of people and places where you filed it.

For a self study course visit the eXtension website Communicating your Advanced Directive

Here is a form that you can fill out on your own from Blue Cross Blue Shield Advanced Directive Form

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