An advance healthcare directive (also known as a living will, personal directive, or advance decision) is a document that describes your healthcare wishes. It can be written at any age, and is especially important if you are facing medical treatment that you don’t want. A living will should include specific instructions about what treatments you want to receive, as well as when you’d like to be notified of them.
It is important that you discuss your medical wishes with your family and your health care provider before making one. You may want to name a proxy to make these decisions for you if you become incapacitated. It’s important that your advance directive be available to your medical team, in case of hospitalization.
While living wills and advance healthcare directives protect your health and wellbeing, they can also help your family deal with a difficult time. When a loved one becomes incapacitated, family members are faced with stress and grief. They may not know what to do. An advance healthcare directive can give them peace of mind knowing that they can refuse any treatment they don’t want.
A living will/advance healthcare directive should be signed and communicated to all of your healthcare providers, especially those closest to you. It should also be kept in a secure place. You may even want to carry a copy with you wherever you go.
A living will/advance healthcare directive can also be known as a health care proxy. It is a document that specifies the person who will make medical decisions for you in the event of your death. It’s important to make sure that your health care proxy understands what your wishes are so that your wishes are carried out.
A living will/advance healthcare directive can save your life. An advance directive allows your family to know exactly what medical treatment you’d prefer. By putting your wishes in writing, you’ll take some of the burden off of your family members’ shoulders.
Although a living will/advance directive is the most important tool in your estate planning, the laws governing these documents vary from state to state. While a living will is a legally binding document, an advance directive can be verbal. In some states, an advance directive can be as simple as a statement you speak to your healthcare provider.
Despite the many benefits of advance directives, their low prevalence in the United States is still concerning. In spite of this low prevalence rate, advance directives remain a critical component of high-quality advance care planning, and increasing the number of people who have them remains a national priority.
Generally speaking, there are two types of advance healthcare directives: a living will and a durable power of attorney. A living will specifies who will make decisions for you when you’re unable to make them yourself. A durable power of attorney for health care (also known as a medical power of attorney) identifies a person to make health care decisions for you if you’re unable to do so.