Why is it important to have an advance directive?

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2021 | Estate Planning |

When thinking about the future and having legal documents drawn up, many people do not think about how important that may be later on. The idea of what might happen if they are unable to make medical decisions for themselves is not always on the forefront of their minds. Nobody likes to think about that kind of health crisis but making provisions is important for you and for your family.

One way to protect your family from this type of crises is through drafting an advance directive that designates someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to make decisions for yourself.

Steps to take

When it comes to creating a legally binding directive, it is not enough for you to communicate your wishes verbally before you become incapacitated and are no longer capable of making decisions about your health. If you do not have a written, signed, witnessed advance directive, there is a good chance that no one will carry out your wishes precisely.

In your directive, you will want to state clearly the type of treatment you wish and do not wish to receive. If you are not comfortable telling your family and friends about your wishes, the directive will do it for you and there will be no doubt about what you want. Another benefit of a directive is that it will minimize arguments among your family members because they will need to carry out your wishes. They will only be making decisions on your behalf based on what you already decided.

Keeping it up to date

You can create an advance directive anywhere in the United States. Although there may be some slight differences in the laws from state to state, the basic concepts are the same. If you happen to be in Tucson, Arizona, for example, it will be wise to consult a lawyer in the Tucson area who has expertise in estate planning. The lawyer can help you to plan what you want to happen if you become incapacitated and your wishes will be indisputable to those whom you designate to make decisions on your behalf.

Your advance directive is a legal document and it stands as is. However, if you decide to revise your wishes after you have already written your directive, make sure your revisions are legally binding. It will not be binding if you only communicate your wishes verbally.