What Is an Advance Directive?

An estate plan has many moving parts, and each of these individual parts can seem complicated and difficult to understand all on their own. However, each piece plays a crucial role in your health, safety and most of all, ensuring the honoring of your wishes even in the event of your death or incapacitation.

An advance directive serves the latter point. But exactly what is it, and why does it serve such an important role?

Defining advance directives

The National Institute on Aging discusses advance directives and how they can help. An advance directive can sometimes include a living will, and it specifically addresses medical treatment in the event of your incapacitation. It allows you to communicate what you want others to do on your behalf if you, for example, fall into a coma and cannot communicate your desires directly.

This is important for the obvious reason that it ensures you get the medical treatment you want depending on the circumstances you face. For example, you can specify that you want them to attempt resuscitation in some situations, but not in others.

Benefits for your loved ones

It also takes a heavy burden away from your family members. Without an advance directive, it is up to them to decide what to do in the event that you cannot communicate your wishes. They may end up doing something you do not want, such as pulling life support if you are comatose. Not only could this jeopardize your wishes, but it also puts unnecessary trauma on your loved ones.

If you want to look into creating an advance directive as part of your estate planning process, consider contacting legal help. They can walk you through the process and give you the aid you need.