Taxes...now death. April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions day

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Now that tax season is officially over, you may be looking forward to getting back to the business of living your life, free from the distasteful chores of searching for W2s, collecting receipts and sharpening number two pencils.

Not so fast. It appears that "the cruelest month" just got a little crueler.

Toady, April 16, marks the first-ever National Healthcare Decisions Day, a countrywide initiative wherein healthcare providers, personal attorneys, chaplains and others highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making.

What is advance healthcare decision-making, you ask? Oh, just the creation of such "advance directives" as living wills and power of attorney. Or as those in the business call it, "end-of-life planning." It makes sense, when you think about it: You've finished with the taxes, so why not turn your attention to death and dying?

Nathan Kottkamp, chair of the National Healthcare Decision Day initiative, says that most Americans are woefully unprepared when it comes to making their wishes known in the event of a tragedy.

"As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more Americans can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives," he said. "Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient; and healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so."

So yeah, it's pretty important. And, fortunately, it only lasts a day.
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