Foundation of MultiCare

Planning for an Uncertain Future

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to do so; thereafter, your selected backup trustee takes over on your behalf. You can choose a friend, relative, trust company or bank institution that will act as your backup trustee. Such trusts are usually revocable and can be modified at any point until you are no longer capable. Upon your death, the trustee can distribute the trust assets to the people and charitable beneficiaries you have designated — much like a will does. ADVANCE DIRECTIVES To address future health care or medical issues, you'll also want to have advance directives — legal documents that let your family and doctors know about your health care wishes. There are two types of advance directives: a medical power of attorney and a living will. A medical power of attorney allows you to name a person now to make health care decisions for you when you are incapable of making decisions yourself. It also allows you to give specific instructions now to your representative about the type of care you would want to receive later. Choose a representative you trust to make decisions for you — someone who knows your values and wishes and who is likely to be available. A more narrowly focused document, the living will directs your doctor to withhold or withdraw life- prolonging treatment if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. It can tell your doctor to provide only those treatments that will relieve pain and provide comfort. As explained above, there are definite differences between a living will and a medical power of attorney. Many people choose to have both a living will and medical power of attorney. If you do have both, make sure they are kept together so that your representative will know all of your wishes. Did You Know? Advance directives give you a voice in decisions about your medical care if you are too ill to speak for yourself. As long as you are able to make your own decisions known, your advance directives will not be used.

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