Making Decisions When It Matters: Understanding Advanced Directives

As you grow older, serious consideration about your end of life wishes and decisions will arise. While it can be an uncomfortable topic, planning ahead and creating advanced directives gives you the peace of mind of knowing your wishes will be respected, even in the event where you cannot communicate on your own. A legal tool used in estate planning, advanced directives empower individuals to preserve their autonomy and make decisions aligned with their values. Some forms of advanced directives include:

Healthcare Power of Attorney: One of the most common advanced directives, Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an individual as your healthcare proxy. This trusted loved one will have the power to make medical decisions on your behalf, in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. As such, it’s vital to carefully choose this individual and clearly outline the boundaries of their decision-making authority.

Financial Power of Attorney: Financial Power of Attorney is another crucial advanced directive. Similar to your Healthcare Power of Attorney, this document enables you to designate a person to handle your finances if you become incapacitated. You’ll provide clear instructions on how that agent should manage your finances, protecting your assets and ensuring your financial interests are secure.

Living Wills: Living wills are advanced directives that outline your wishes regarding medical treatment in specific situations. These documents guide medical professionals and your loved ones in making decisions about life-sustaining treatments in situations where you are unable to communicate. By clearly outlining your preferences, you can ensure that your values and beliefs are respected during critical healthcare decisions.

Medical Directives: Medical directives encompass a wide range of instructions and preferences related to your healthcare. They can include specific treatment instructions, organ donation preferences, palliative care wishes, and more. Another specific form of medical directive is a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. Typically used towards end-of-life care, this states you do not want CPR if your heart stops or if you stop breathing.

Advanced directives are complicated terrain, and working closely with a legal professional ensures your wishes will be properly documented and executed. For guidance on navigating advanced directives, contact us.

Related practices: Divorce & Family, Estate Planning


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