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Why you should have an advance medical directive

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2023 | Estate Planning, Probate & Guardianships

Many Texas residents know the value of having an estate plan in place. Ensuring that you pass down your assets in the manner you want is invaluable. But you should also consider several other documents that show your wishes if you can’t otherwise convey them. One of the most important is an advance medical directive.

What is an advance medical directive?

An advance medical directive is an often-overlooked estate planning tool that allows you to appoint a representative, like a family member or close friend, to speak for you when you cannot. This straightforward document designates the time and circumstances when your representative can act.

Advance medical directive benefits

This document outlines essential decisions for your loved ones, giving them a roadmap during a crisis. It can detail your end-of-life wishes for life support and complex medical treatments you may not want. An advance medical directive is also helpful for unexpected events such as catastrophic accidents. Your loved ones will have peace of mind and can reduce stress and possible conflicts between family members because they won’t have to guess what you want.

An advance directive can also help you when faced with a life-threatening illness, as so many options are available. Through this document, you’ll be able to tell doctors when to discontinue active treatment and continue solely with palliative care. With this document, you can avoid unnecessary pain, unhelpful procedures and unwanted hospitalizations.

Creating your personal plan

Along with a will, every individual should have a power of attorney for financial matters, plus a power of attorney for healthcare. The healthcare document can complement the advance medical directive. Forgoing any of these documents means the courts or someone else will decide for you.

Most people are aware that a will outlines your wishes and beneficiaries for your assets. However, when a power of attorney for finances is not included, your loved ones may have to petition for guardianship to manage your financial affairs. Initial conversations about these topics can be difficult, but doing so will make circumstances easier in the long run.