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Do you need an advance directive?

When working on your estate plan, you likely spend most of your time determining what you want to be done with your assets and other effects after your death. But did you know, you can also plan ahead for things that may happen when you are still alive?

Advance directives serve as one such tool, and you may want to look into getting one for your own peace of mind and future health.

Reasons for an advance directive

The National Institute on Aging discusses the place of advance directives in estate planning. An advance directive essentially serves as a way to tell your family what medical treatment you want in the event that something happens which renders you incapable of communication. Examples can include degenerative mental illnesses like dementia, or sudden crashes that put you into a coma.

Most people have a strong idea of what they want when it comes to life-saving medical treatments. You may feel that you do not want resuscitation provided, or that you do not want to stay on life support. Or perhaps you wish to stay on life support, but only in certain cases – such as if you are in a comatose state versus if doctors have declared you braindead.

Relief for you and your family

Having this written down can provide you with the relief in knowing that even if you cannot communicate it directly, your wishes and desires will still get to the people who can act on your behalf. It also benefits your family members, who no longer have to make the heart-wrenching decision of how to treat a non-communicative relative. They simply have to follow the advance directive instead, which is a weight off everyone’s shoulders.

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