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Why are Advanced Directives Important?

A living will is an advanced directive

We start to think about what our life will look like as we age. There are many decisions to be made, especially if we want to do the best we can for the people we care about. Planning for this includes preparing a will and other estate planning tools. But what happens if you get sick? Who makes decisions for you then? One way to handle that is through the use of advance directives.

What is an Advanced Directive?

Essentially, advance directives are legal documents that allow you to relay in advance your decisions about end-of-life care. They provide a way express your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals to avoid confusion later on.

Advanced directives provide peace of mind during an extremely stressful time for your family. They do this by explicitly stating your wishes, which will ease the burden on your loved ones. It also gives you a say over what happens to you when you get sick and become incapacitated. Advanced directives also provide a clear guide for healthcare professionals on how you would like to be treated medically while also ensuring you control what treatments you receive. They can also reduce the arguments among family members that can sometimes break out during stressful times.

Is a Living Will an Advanced Directive?

In a living will, which is one type of advanced directive, your religious/spiritual beliefs, healthcare preferences, and anything else related to your care are described in detail. A living will is written record of how your family and doctors can care for you when or if the time comes. For instance, it often dictates how aggressive you would like to be when it comes to end of life care. It is important to think clearly and make sound choices in a living will. It is impossible to address every situation that arises, but you also do not want to prevent yourself from receiving crucial care. Your doctor may be able to assist you with this task.

Some of the procedures that may be covered under a living will include tube feeding, CPR, and mechanical ventilation. Again, it is crucial to be thorough in your choices and to consult your physician. An experienced elder law attorney will also be able to assist you with this document.

Is a Power of Attorney an Advanced Directive?

A power of attorney is a legal document allocating the right to make certain decisions on the principal’s behalf by appointing them as an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.” The individual still retains the right to make decisions on their own. A power of attorney can often be limited in scope to making either financial or health care decisions on the individual’s behalf. However, a durable power of attorney can include a broader set of powers not limited to certain areas. A power of attorney can decide to limit the authority to a specific amount of time or circumstances. Power of attorney is executed outside of a courtroom. A power of attorney is less costly than other ways of granting authority over assets or health, but the person must be in a proper state of mind in order to grant power of attorney. Otherwise, it’s not valid. A power of attorney becomes invalid if you become mentally incompetent and cannot handle the role. A durable power of attorney includes language that makes it effective even if that happens. A durable power of attorney plans for medical emergencies, cognitive decline later in life, or other situations where you are no longer capable of making decisions. A power of attorney is a good value and allows a person to appoint the person they choose to the role.

Estate Planning Attorneys at The Mattar Firm

If you are considering advanced directives, an experienced estate planning attorney can guide you through the process and help you make decisions which are best for you and your family. The Mattar Firm can help you. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation. 239-222-2222.


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