If your father has a major illness like a stroke, he will need immediate care but would be unable to make his own medical decisions. When this happens, doctors and hospitals have to follow the laws in your state about who should make those decisions. You may know exactly what your father would want you to do, but unless you and he filled out the right forms, these important decisions may be made by someone else. And unless you talk to him, nobody will know what he would want!
For these reasons, we recommend that you and your father complete an Advance Directive. An Advance Directive is a legal document that says:
- Who should be in charge of your father’s medical decisions when he can’t
- What kinds of medical treatments are ok to keep your father alive.
This document is also known as a “Medical Power of Attorney” or a “Living Will." About 75% of seniors have Advance Directive documents, so your father may already have one! In this case, be sure it is up to date and that you have a copy uploaded into the Kinto Documents Tool so it’s always available to you and your family.
Most people prefer to die in their homes with family and friends nearby instead of in a hospital on life support systems. Yet, without an Advance Directive and a full understanding of your father’s wishes, it may be legally impossible to avoid a hospitalized passing.