The COVID-19 pandemic brought a renewed focus on health-related decision-making. Over the past two years, countless families and individuals have had to make important, urgent decisions on medical care for their loved ones. The consequences of these decisions are enormous, and many people find themselves unprepared, not knowing what types of interventions were wanted or unwanted, how to balance invasive treatments with comfort and quality of life, and life. When to stop support?
Granted, your clients are likely to have a living will and power of attorney for health care, as most estate planning attorneys include them as a standard part of their service when making last wills and wills. Yet how many of your clients have been directed to seriously consider their healthcare wishes, and how many have conveyed that information to powers of attorney appointed to make decisions for them? In honor of National Health Care Decisions Day on April 16, can you help them do more?
These are the steps you can follow:
- Present the following scenario: “If you were in an accident today and fainted in the emergency room, someone would make your treatment decisions for you. Would you like to be the overworked ER doctor you never met? ? Do you want your family to argue about your care and get exactly the treatment that your most assertive and stubborn family member wants you to receive? Or do you want to be as in control as possible, Want to be informed of your decisions, even when you can’t speak for yourself and choose the person to represent your interests? I know you have a basic access to health care and a state standard of living Power of attorney is there, but I think it serves you and your family best if we revisit those documents to make sure they protect you and get you the way you want. , keep it under control.”
- Then address the will of living itself. 1 Question for Your Customers: “What is quality of life for you?” Like finance and inheritance, it takes an in-depth look at what they want and why, highlighting their ultimate goals and vision for themselves: “What you need to do, feel, understand, or participate in.” need to be able to use artificial means to prolong the life of one’s body, and at what point, if any, is it no longer worth it? Want every known intervention to survive as long as possible. Most people have some sort of limitation, whether physical, cognitive, psychological or otherwise. What, if anything, is yours?”
An example to get them thinking: A woman decides that if she is at the point where 50% of the time she no longer recognizes her family, she doesn’t want any more artificial intervention and will instead choose what is best, most comfortable. Wants to live life till it is the natural death of the body. This decision, made known to her family and the POA, frees them from debating and guilt over whether to ask doctors to insert a feeding tube when dementia takes away her ability to swallow or whether she is simply eating. shuts down. She does not want to extend the life of her body to that quality and she accepts the process of natural death.
Second: A cancer patient said that if the chemo visits did at least good but the potential for debilitating side effects on quality of life, he or she would not want another round of chemo until at least 75% Don’t miss the chance, this will increase its length. Three times the length of chemo and the rest of his time will be on the quality of life that will allow him to get out of the house, walk, go to social events, and be with his grandchildren.
Inspire your clients to think about what they want in these and other scenarios, so they can provide clear guidance to their families and doctors. Along with your encouragement, a great tool to help them think about these things is The Conversation Project. The site has videos, questions and resources, including a starter kit for family discussions about health decisions.
- Once clients are refined and clear about what treatment they want and why they want it (their quality of life desire), confirm that the power of attorney for health care is an individual they can rely on for those specific Trust to fulfill wishes. Also make sure they have at least one option, if that person can’t or doesn’t want to serve at that time. For example, many couples add up to a spouse, but what if they are in an accident together and cannot serve? So who?
Emphasize the importance of trusting those people to implement your wishes as directed. If your client wants every treatment available, will their POA do so voluntarily, even if the POA personally believes that the treatments were futile? Conversely, if your client wants to refuse or disconnect from treatments, will their POA do so, even if the POA personally believes that trying every possible intervention is a better option? Because of the emotions involved in these actions, many people decide to supplement non-family members who can more objectively satisfy their desires. Clients need to be able to trust their appointments.
Then the important step for your client is to notify their POA and options, give them a copy of their detailed life, perhaps with an additional term document attached that seeks to maintain the rationale and quality of life behind those decisions. Many POAs know they have been appointed, but do not understand the wishes well enough to explain any situation in light of the “why” behind the wishes.
Overall, do more than just provide the form. Encourage reflection, thought and intelligent decision making. Then do what you can to make sure clients pass those decisions on to their families, caregivers and medical professionals so everyone is on the same page. You will prevent untold nightmares for everyone involved.
Also remember that their decisions have a huge impact on their finances. Your knowledge of their wishes can lead to a variety of products such as long-term care or disability insurance, or restructuring the portfolio to better ensure their wishes are funded. Have these discussions. They serve you, your customers and their families.
Amy Florian is CEO of CoreGenius, combining neuroscience and psychology to train financial businesses in how to build strong relationships with clients through all of life’s pitfalls and transitions.