I caught a great story about advanced healthcare directives on NPR’s Planet Money Podcast. The story covers a town in Wisconsin where 96% of residents have planned for their death. The U.S. average is around 30%. Even among people diagnosed with major illnesses, only about half of them have planned for their deaths.
An interesting side effect of people planning for death, in the form of executing advanced healthcare directives, is that the costs of healthcare go down. A large amount of healthcare related expenses come in the last few months of a person’s life. But as it turns out, most people don’t want the type of care that is given to them during that time period. When given a choice, most people will opt out of extended healthcare treatment that may extend their life by a small percentage (but also reduces their quality of life). Studies have actually found people who opt out of this overly optimistic end-of-life care actually end up living longer than those whose doctors throw every possible treatment and medication at their diseases.
Give the story a listen over at NPR Planet Money.
Advanced healthcare directives also make things easier on your loved ones who are often put in the difficult position of guessing what medical treatment you’d like to have or not have. Beyond the healthcare directives, comprehensive estate planning can keep you from leaving a mess to your surviving loved ones. You can keep your family out of court and out of conflict if you do some planning before its too late!
Colin Ley is a Seattle estate planning attorney. He is also the co-founder of LayRoots along with his wife, Shreya.