Now is the time of year when Massachusetts families that may not get to be together much during the rest of the year are together. This may not seem like an opportune time to discuss health care planning, but there never really is an optimal time to broach the subject. No one wants to think about becoming incapacitated -- especially around the holidays. However, making preparations might give everyone peace of mind.
At least two documents bear consideration when planning for the unlikely event of incapacitation. The first is an advanced care directive used by some states as a combination living will and health care power of attorney or proxy. Other states separate these two documents. This document makes the signer's intentions known in the event of incapacitation and appoints a trusted person to make health care decisions on that person's behalf.