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Why it is important to have an advanced directive

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Mediation |

Most people prefer to avoid discussing unpleasant subjects. But residents of Wisconsin must consider what to do if they become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for themselves.

Understanding advanced directives

An advanced directive informs doctors and caregivers about your preferences for medical decisions if you cannot make them yourself. It simplifies decision-making by designating someone to speak on your behalf and express your wishes clearly. This legally binding document, which is a key part of estate planning, outlines your stance on matters such as life support and other medical procedures and medications.

Preparing advanced directives

While some choose to create an advanced directive after a serious illness diagnosis, others prefer to outline their healthcare wishes while still healthy. Involving your family in the conversation ensures clarity and minimizes guilt and uncertainty. This approach also helps your loved ones feel more comfortable supporting your choice of care.

Advance directive types

The two primary types of advanced directives are living wills and durable power of attorney forms. Neither is permanently binding, and you can change them at any time based on your changing beliefs or preferences. You should review and update your DPA or living will annually.

What’s a living will?

A living will describe your desired medical treatments and refusals to your medical team and family, specifying the conditions under which you’ll accept such treatments. It becomes effective when medical professionals determine you’re unable to make decisions and unlikely to regain this ability or if you’re in a state specified in the document, such as a vegetative state. Medical providers must adhere to its directives.

Make decisions now for the future

Creating a living will, advanced directive or durable power of attorney may be challenging, but it ensures your healthcare wishes get followed when you communicate your preferences. This provides peace of mind for both you and your loved ones.