6 Things to Know About Living Wills (Advance Directives)

1: What Is It?

An Advance Directive is a written instruction that you create while you are mentally competent and capable. This instruction states how your healthcare decisions are to be made in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. Advance Directives act as a guide for your physician and relieve your family from the burden of having to guess or assume what type of care and treatment you want.

An Advance Directive describes the kind of life-sustaining care you would want if you develop a terminal condition or are in a state of permanent unconsciousness.
Through an Advance Directive you also have the opportunity to appoint a proxy who can make healthcare decisions for you and according to the wishes you set forth.

2: Why Should I Get One?

An Advance Directive allows you to make your wishes clear to friends, family, and professionals. Through it, you retain control of your health care in the event you are incapacitated or unable to speak for yourself. It may also prevent disagreements among loved ones about the type of treatment that is desired.

3: What Happens If I Don’t Have One?

Without an Advance Directive, your health care decisions will be left up to another party in the event of your incapacitation. This could be a spouse, a family member, an adult child, an adult sibling, a close friend, or even a court-appointed guardian. The obvious risk is that you will have no control or say in your treatment. Another problem is that whoever is put in charge of making your decisions will have to spend time and money navigating the legal process in order to make said decisions.

4: When Should I Prepare An Advance Directive?

Right now. If you are able and of sound mind, then you should prepare an Advance Directive. If you change your wishes at a later date it can always be revised.

5: How Do I Prepare An Advance Directive?

To ensure your Advance Directive is complete and air-tight, it is best to prepare the Directive under the supervision and guidance of an experienced attorney.

6: What If I Change My Mind About My Wishes/Decisions?

If for any reason you decide to amend your Advance Directive, you and your attorney will prepare a new document. Afterwards, you need to completely destroy the old one, as well as all copies that may exist.

If you have any further questions about preparing your Advance Directive, contact Stanko, Senter & Mitchell today.