It is hard to know exactly what you need in your estate plan. Most everyone needs a Last Will and Testament (for many reasons), but for some people, trusts are better options. No matter how large your estate is or how many beneficiaries you have, everyone can benefit from having a document referred to as an “advance healthcare directive.” 

An advance healthcare directive is a legal document that spells out your wishes for medical care you wish to receive when you are incapacitated; that is, when you are unable to verbalize specific actions you wish to be delivered to you by your treating medical team. The term “advance healthcare directive” is a generic term for particular documents that help others understand the medical care you wish to receive; a living Will is another name for this document. Another way you can create an advance healthcare directive is by naming a health care proxy (someone to make medical decisions for you) or by giving someone medical power of attorney. 

What Does a Healthcare Directive Address?

The ways modern medical technology is able to keep people alive is incredible, but it has also presented some dilemmas. If you were to lose the ability to breathe manually, for example, would you want to be placed on a ventilator or other artificial breathing machine? If you were no longer able to eat or drink, would you want an artificial feeding tube inserted into your abdomen? If you were to go into cardiac arrest while in a coma, would you want a doctor or nurse to perform CPR on you?

These are deeply personal questions and should only be answered after a significant amount of thought, consideration, and discussion with those closest to you.

Some advantages of having an advance healthcare directive in place include:

  • Your exact wishes are known to your loved ones, friends, doctors, and healthcare providers ahead of time, which helps you avoid medical interventions you consider unnecessary or intrusive
  • You save your loved ones from having to make extremely difficult decisions about your medical care during an already emotional time

Conclusion

It can be uncomfortable to think about, but there’s a good chance you or a loved one will reach a point where your doctors could benefit from having your wishes for end-of-life care in writing. To save everyone a good amount of heartache and pain, it is highly recommended that you have an advance healthcare directive in place. 

Attorney Tanika L. Finney can help you create this legal document that aligns with your goals and beliefs. Additionally, she would be honored to help you update an existing directive or ensure that your directive you made in another state will be honored in Alabama. Call the firm at 334-203-7521 to begin planning for your future.