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What is an advance directive?

If you’re left incapacitated by illness or injury, important questions about your future will be left to your family. Even if you believe that your family is fully apprised of your wishes that might not be the case. In fact, severe disputes could break out among your relatives if they disagree on the best course of action. Having an advance directive is key in this case, and WebMD explains some of the more common options at your disposal.

How to choose a medical power of attorney

A medical power of attorney is the person who will speak on your behalf when you can no longer express yourself. It’s crucial that you select the right individual in this case, as the job can be very challenging. For instance, the person should be able to speak with medical professionals without feeling intimidated. Also, the person should be able to separate their feelings and attachment to you in order to make the decision you deem right (such as forgoing resuscitation measures).

How to create a living will

You also have the option of creating a living will, which is a document that lays out your wishes in writing. It’s important to be explicit in your instructions so that there is no confusion when its time for these decisions to be made. For instance, it’s a good idea to include information on organ donation, pain relief, CPR, funeral service, method of disposal, medication, and feeding tubes so your family can ensure your exact wishes are carried out. Once again, never assume that your loved ones are aware of your wishes.

How to ensure your wishes are carried out

If you’re concerned about the legality of any forms, you can have an attorney review them. Laws can vary quite a bit from state to state, so you want to make sure that your document adheres to any pertinent local rules. Additionally, make sure all involved parties have a copy for their records.

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