Why Advance Medical Directives Matter

Advance medical directives, such as a living will or healthcare power of attorney, allow for individuals to take control of their health care decisions when they are disabled, incapacitated or otherwise severely injured. They are an important estate planning tool for a variety of reasons: here, the estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of James A. List detail their importance.

Advance Medical Directives Allow Your Wishes to Be Met

Decisions about medical care and treatment can be deeply personal, and as such it is important to specify them in writing should you ever find yourself in a situation where you cannot communicate them. This is what makes an advance medical directive so valuable: it allows your needs, desires and values to be respected and carried out to the best of a medical provider’s ability. Advance medical directives cover a wide range of concerns, such as whether you wish to be resuscitated, put on mechanical ventilation, tube fed, provided dialysis, antibiotics, antivirals or palliative care or other medical concerns if you pass away, such as whether you wish for your organs and tissues to be donated, or if you would like your body donated to a scientific or medical institution.  Without an advance medical directive, medical professionals or family members will be forced to make these decisions for you.

Advance Medical Directives Can Prevent Familial Disputes

The care of a loved one is an emotionally charged subject, and oftentimes, family members have strong opinions about what should be done for a loved one in a medical emergency. This can lead to disputes, stress and frustration, and could even lead to legal ramifications. An advance medical directive can alleviate many of these issues, as it clearly states how you wish to be treated in a medical situation. This relieves family members of the burden of making major, potentially life-changing decisions.

Advance Medical Directives Can Give Control to a Designated Individual

A healthcare power of attorney establishes one individual, often a family member, attorney or friend, as a proxy for you—meaning that if a medical decision must be made, they have the right to make the decision they feel would best meet your interests. A healthcare power of attorney can also help to prevent disputes, as one individual is given full legal authority to make decisions. When choosing a proxy for your healthcare power of attorney, ensure that the individual you have chosen is willing to make major decisions, and educated on the kinds of decisions you would wish for them to make.

Advance Medical Directives help Establish Control Over an Unpredictable Future

Individuals who are young and healthy may feel that advance medical directives are meant for those who are old and sick—but, life is unpredictable, and sometimes, the unthinkable happens. Staying prepared for unforeseen events by establishing an advance healthcare directive helps bring control and order over an unpredictable future.

The estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of James A. List want to help you to make important, informed decisions to better prepare for what the future will bring. They are dedicated to providing honest, dedicated support when drafting and establishing wills, advance medical directives, power of attorneys, trust and any other estate planning tools you require. For more information, or to discuss your estate planning needs, contact us today!  

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