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Advance Directive

What Is An Advance Directive?

An Advance Directive is a legal document that allows you to designate someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This can include decisions about your medical care, financial affairs, and other personal matters.

I highly recommend everyone create an Advance Directive, as it gives peace of mind to both you and your loved ones. It also ensures that your wishes will be followed in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Read our Legal Checklist For Aging Parents – 17 Essential Documents

Why Create An Advance Directive?

No one knows what the future holds, and an Advance Directive gives you a way to plan for the possibility that you may not be able to make decisions for yourself.

By creating an Advance Directive, you can ensure that your wishes will be respected and that your loved ones will not have to guess what you would want.

A common advance directive is a living will. A living will is a written statement that spells out the kind of medical care you would or would not want to receive if you become unable to communicate your wishes.

What’s The Difference Between A Will And A Living Will?

A will is a legal document that details how you would like your assets to be distributed after you die. A living will, on the other hand, is a legal document that outlines your medical wishes in the event that you are unable to communicate them yourself.

While a will is typically used to distribute your assets, a living will can be used to specify things like what kind of medical treatment you would or would not want to receive, who you would want to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so, and more.

Creating a living will can give you peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be followed if something happens to you. It can also help to ease the burden on your loved ones during an already difficult time.

If you are unsure of whether or not you need a living will, it is best to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you understand your options and make the best decision for your needs.

Are There Any Disadvantages To A Living Will?

While a living will can be a helpful tool in estate planning, there are some potential disadvantages to consider as well.

One of the biggest potential disadvantages is that a living will is only legally binding if it is properly executed. This means that it must be in writing and signed by both you and witnesses. If any of these requirements are not met, the living will likely be deemed invalid.

Another potential downside is that a living will does not cover all possible medical scenarios. For example, if you become incapacitated but are not terminally ill, a living will would not be applicable.

In addition, some people may feel uncomfortable assigning such decisions to someone else, even if it is someone they trust.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that a living will is a directive, not an order. This means that your health care proxy is not obligated to follow your wishes if they feel that doing so would be contrary to your best interests.

Despite these potential disadvantages, a living will can be a valuable tool for ensuring that your end-of-life wishes are carried out.

If you are considering creating a living will, be sure to discuss your plans with your health care proxy and make sure they understand your wishes.

You should also keep a copy of your living will in a safe place where it can be easily accessed by your loved ones.

I would also recommend to place your documents in a Fireproof document box like this one. There are many different types of boxes and bags that you can safely store your documents and protect them from a potential fire.

What Are The Different Types Of Advance Directives?

There are many different types of Advance Directives:

1. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, which designates someone to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to do so.

2. A Living Will, which sets forth your wishes regarding the use of life-sustaining treatments if you are terminally ill or in a vegetative state.

3. Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment. Also known as a POLST form, this document gives your doctor specific instructions about the kinds of life-sustaining treatment you do or do not want to receive.

4. Five Wishes. This Advance Directive includes many of the same topics covered in a Living Will but also allows you to express your wishes regarding comfort care, spirituality,

5. DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Orders). This order instructs medical personnel not to attempt CPR if your heart stops or you stop breathing.

6. Durable Power of Attorney for Finances. Like a Healthcare Power of Attorney, this document appoints someone to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.

7. Organ and Tissue Donation. You can use this Advance Directive to express your wishes regarding organ and tissue donation.

It’s so very important to have these legal documents created during most any time in your life. You don’t have to wait to be elderly or ill to get them done.

What Is The Five Wishes Advance Directive?

The Five Wishes advance directive is a legal document that lets you spell out how you want to be treated if you are ever unable to make decisions for yourself. It is also sometimes called a living will.

Advance directives are an important part of overall end-of-life planning. While having these conversations and making these plans can be difficult, they can bring peace of mind to both you and your loved ones.

The Five Wishes document was created by the non-profit organization agingwithdignity.org. It is available in every state and meets the legal requirements for an advance directive in 42 states.

The Five Wishes document allows you to express the following five wishes:

1. Who you want to make decisions for you when you can’t

2. The kind of medical treatment you do or don’t want

3. How comfortable you want to be

4. How you want people to treat you

5. What you want your loved ones to know

Making your wishes known in advance can help ease the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time. It can also ensure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you desire.

If you would like to learn more about the Five Wishes document, or if you would like to create one for yourself, you can visit agingwithdignity.org.

How Do I Create An Advance Directive?

Creating an Advance Directive is a simple process. I encourage you to use the services of an elder law attorney to get these done.

It is important to keep your Advance Directive in a safe place where your family or health care proxy can easily find it.You should also give copies to your doctor, any other health care providers you see regularly, and anyone else who might need it in the event that you are unable to make your own health care decisions.

If you ever need to use your Advance Directive, make sure that the person you have chosen as your health care proxy knows where it is and what your wishes are. It is also a good idea to keep a copy with you in case of an emergency.

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