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Is a healthcare directive necessary in your estate plan?

If you are setting up an estate plan in Delaware, you may hear about something called a healthcare directive. Those who are young and healthy may not see a need to worry about their end of life care, but the truth is that no one is exempt from injury or sudden illness. UCI Health suggests that the benefits of a healthcare directive are peace of mind, decreased stress and less chance of conflict between family members about your preferences.

A healthcare directive is used if you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. This is the document that defines what you do or do not want medical professionals to do if you need certain treatments or comfort care at the end of life. A directive allows you to make decisions while you are able to help you avoid certain procedures, pain and hospitalizations.

With a healthcare directive, you can also appoint a family member or friend to make decisions if you cannot. If you are injured or fall suddenly ill and do not want to be resuscitated or on life support, you can make your wishes known to someone who has the legal ability to inform doctors about what treatments to perform.

It is often a tragedy that makes a healthcare directive necessary, and when emotions are strong and running high, it is hard for family members to make important decisions about your care. This is why it is a good idea to spell out your wishes long before they are needed, in a calm environment where you can determine exactly what you are okay with when it comes to medical treatment or palliative care.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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