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Why your estate plan needs an advance directive

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | ELDER LAW - Estate Planning

In Texas, an advance directive, sometimes called a living will, is vital to an estate plan. This legal document assists you in making decisions about how to handle your healthcare needs in advance, so your wishes are carried out even if you become incapacitated and cannot express them. Considering how an advance directive can protect you and those important to you during a difficult time is essential. Advance directives can offer the following benefits.

Articulate your wishes

An advance directive allows you to document your wishes and preferences for the medical treatment you want under various scenarios. This estate planning tool includes a living will, where you specify the types of medical treatments you do or don’t want if you were to have a terminal illness or lie in a persistent, vegetative state. When you formally declare your wishes, you can provide clarity for your family and healthcare providers and know that they will respect your wishes.

Durable power of attorney

When you set up an advance directive, you select a durable power of attorney as your trusted advocate. If you can’t do so yourself, this individual assumes responsibility for making decisions about your healthcare treatments. Choosing the right individual to take on this role is essential, so consider selecting someone who knows you well and will respect your wishes, even if different from their own.

Eliminate disagreements

Documenting your healthcare directives in advance can prevent confusion among family members and healthcare providers who may need to make critical healthcare decisions for you. Your advance directive is a straightforward guide and removes uncertainty about your final wishes. It helps your family and healthcare team work toward an understanding of your treatment preferences.

Control over treatment types

An advance directive provides a legal means to determine whether your healthcare team should accept, decline or continue life-sustaining measures such as feeding tubes or breathing machines. By putting your preferences in writing in advance, you retain control over these decisions even if you cannot communicate them yourself. This benefit allows you to align your treatment with your beliefs and values.

You can take responsibility for your healthcare decisions and safeguard your autonomy with an advance directive. With this valuable tool, you can protect your values and provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.