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Why do I need a health care directive?

Estate planning can be quite a challenge, especially if you need to take care of many things like setting up a trust, will, and guardianship. When you have already done so much to prepare for tomorrow, is a health care directive really worth the effort?

Only just over one-third of Americans have a health care directive, but that may be because they are either not aware of them or do not value the importance of one. So, what exactly does a health care directive do for you?

The benefits of a health care directive

If you were to create a health care directive, you would appoint someone to make important health decisions on your behalf. The appointee would only make these decisions if you could not make them on your own, like because of significant illnesses or injuries. To help your appointee make these critical decisions, you can use your health care directive to specify your feelings about significant decisions like:

  • Organ donation
  • Where you want treatment
  • What preferences you have about specific treatments
  • Funeral decisions
  • When or if you would consent to a procedure
  • How long to stay on life support

Without specifying your wishes in a health care directive, you leave your loved ones to guess what you would want in vital situations, leading to a lot of infighting and damaged relationships among them.

Begin your estate planning today

If you do not have an estate plan or if you have not updated yours in some time, consult with an estate planning lawyer as soon as possible. There is no telling if or when something tragic should happen, and you want to be sure you do not leave your loved ones with more questions than answers.

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