Many believe they can put off thinking about complex or late-life healthcare needs. However, regardless of age, anyone can benefit from having an advance medical directive.
These are the reasons to include this essential document in your estate plan.
What is an advance medical directive?
An advance medical directive is a document in which you may specify instructions regarding your healthcare if illness or incapacity renders you unable to relay your wishes. In this document, you can convey whether you want to accept or refuse life-prolonging or enhancing medical treatment, the types of treatment or care you prefer to receive, your decision regarding organ donation or name a proxy to represent your wishes.
Are there different types of advance directives?
You have three options for creating an advance medical directive. First, you may make a living will that explains in writing how you want your medical team and family to proceed if you cannot act for yourself. Alternatively, a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate is a document where you can choose someone to decide matters regarding your medical treatment and care if you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Finally, you may opt for a Psychiatric Advance Directive to determine your mental health care and related medical treatments or name someone to manage them if you become incompetent.
Are advance medical directives revocable?
If you have a change of heart or circumstances, you can modify or nullify your advance directive. However, changes are only valid if you make them while you are of sound mind and notarize them.
Having an advance medical directive, regardless of the size of your estate, will bring peace of mind to you and your family if expected and unexpected circumstances arise.