It is impossible to know when a medical emergency may arise. One never knows when an unexpected illness or accident could render them incapacitated and unable to make healthcare decisions. In such situations, advance directives, in the form of Living Wills and Healthcare Proxy, can be a lifesaver.
Advance Directives are documents that help individuals communicate their healthcare preferences in advance. They are legal documents in which an individual can express their preferences for medical treatment and appoint someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so.
This blog post highlights the importance of advance directives and explains the difference between Living Wills and Healthcare Proxy.
What are Advance Directives?
Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to express your medical wishes in advance so that healthcare professionals know how to care for you if you’re unable to communicate. Advance directives are legally binding and typically include two documents: a living will and a healthcare proxy.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a legal document that outlines an individual’s healthcare wishes for end-of-life medical treatment and care. It specifies the kind of medical treatments and life-sustaining measures a person wants or doesn’t want if they are unable to communicate their wishes. It allows the person to specify their preferences about life-support, artificial nutrition or hydration, and pain management, among others.
What is a Healthcare Proxy?
A Healthcare Proxy is where an individual designates a trusted person to make medical decisions on their behalf in case of their inability to do so. It is an essential document in situations where someone loses the capacity to make decisions due to illness, accident or injury. Healthcare Proxy allows individuals to appoint an agent, someone they trust, to make medical decisions on their behalf, according to their wishes.
Why are Advance Directives Important?
Advance directives provide peace of mind that medical treatment decisions reflect personal choices. Advance directives also ease the burden and confusion for family members or loved ones who may incur high medical costs for medical measures. Having an advance directive in place helps relieve the stress of making decisions about medical care and offers a greater sense of control over one’s care.
When Should You Create Advance Directives?
Advance directives should be created early, while an individual is in good health, to ensure their preferences and instructions are clear and consistent with the person’s beliefs and wishes. As healthcare decisions become more complicated, it is essential to consider advance directives. One can choose to revise their advance directives at any time if their wishes change.
How to Create Advance Directives?
Creating advance directives is easy, a qualified estate planning attorney for healthcare directives can be helpful. However, if that is not possible, templates are readily available from State health departments and hospices. The documents can be customized based on an individual’s needs and preferences. Once created, the documents should be shared with family members, healthcare providers and stored in a safe place.
Advance directives are key documents that ensure that an individual’s healthcare wishes are respected and implemented throughout their lives. Creating advance directives helps in personalizing medical care delivery, reduces the stress for loved ones and ensures that the person’s decisions and beliefs in healthcare are honored. It is never too early to talk about advance directives and to take the steps to implement your healthcare wishes. It is always better to be prepared.
Gastonia Estate Planning Attorneys
Don’t leave your healthcare decisions to chance—take proactive steps now to personalize your medical care, alleviate the burden on your loved ones, and enhance your sense of control. Consult with Mullen, Holland & Cooper P.A., and allow us to assist you in creating advance directives that genuinely reflect your healthcare wishes and beliefs. It’s never too early to prioritize your well-being and ensure that your decisions are honored throughout your life. Contact our Gastonia Estate Planning Attorneys today to embark on the crucial journey of implementing your healthcare preferences.