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A piece of paper on a desk with “advanced directive” written at the top, bordered by books, a pair of glasses, and a pen.

Turn Over a New Leaf with Advance Directives

Taking charge of your health can be empowering! Beyond proper diet and exercise, you should secure your wishes regarding your healthcare with an advance directive from Elder Law Lawyers. Unsure what advanced directives are? Don’t know if this path is right for you? Don’t worry! Our team of lawyers is here to guide you!

Types of Advance Directives

An advance directive is an essential aspect of your estate plan that allows you to make critical end-of-life decisions about your personal healthcare and secure your dignity if you become incapacitated. This document records your wishes for your family and healthcare providers so they can make the right decisions for you, even if you cannot verbalize them. Because your healthcare needs are unique, there are two types of documentation that can be customized to your situation.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

The first type of advance directive is called a healthcare power of attorney. It allows you to name someone, usually a spouse, family member, or friend, to make medical decisions for you when you can’t speak for yourself. This individual is often called an agent, healthcare surrogate, or healthcare proxy. By completing this document, you provide this individual with instructions like where you want to receive treatment or any other information they may need to make decisions on your behalf.

Living Will

The second type of advance directive is a living will. This document is situation-specific as it tells your family and healthcare provider what treatment you want to receive as you near the end of your life. As long as you can express your wishes regarding your health, this document, or any other advance directive, will not dictate any actions taken regarding your care.

Frequently Asked Questions About Advance Directives

According to the National Institutes of Health, only 1 in 3 Americans has an advance directive. Many people aren’t sure if they need this type of document, or they find the process confusing and overwhelming. To make the process of creating an advance directive easier and more accessible, the legal team at Elder Law Lawyers is willing to answer any questions you may have about it. Here are some common questions we hear from clients about advance directives and other healthcare concerns. 

1. What should I include in my advance directive?

What you include in your advance directive depends on your unique needs. Most commonly, individuals use this document to state their preferences, including, but not limited to:

  • Where they want to receive treatment
  • Their personal values and beliefs
  • Who they want to make healthcare choices for them if they cannot do so themselves
  • Specific instructions for their healthcare power of attorney

Regardless of what your wishes are, consulting with an estate planning attorney can help you determine what to include in your advance directive. They can guide you through assessing your needs and exploring the best paths to securing the decisions that matter to you.

2. Who should I appoint as my agent in my advance directive?

Deciding who to appoint as your agent in your advance directive can be challenging, especially if you are single, childless, or have a non-traditional family configuration. Consider appointing someone you trust who lives near you and can take on this responsibility. This person can be a partner, family member, or even a close friend. 

Once you’ve selected this individual, it is essential for you to discuss the specifics of your advance directive with them so they understand your wishes and can tell you whether they are willing to take on this very important role. You will want someone who has the time and energy to make these decisions. 

3. What type of power will my agent have over my life?

For as long as you can make decisions and express your desires, your agent will not control your actions or determine parts of your life. In your advance directive, you may state your wishes to limit your agent’s authority to make decisions for you. Some specific examples of limitations include:

  • Types of treatment you do not want to receive.
  • Under what circumstances you do not want treatment.
  • Any instructions regarding organ donation in the event of your death.

If you’re unsure what types of limitations you would like to express in your advance directive, consult an estate planning attorney. They can help you determine what your needs are and how to best meet them through this documentation. 

Make Your Wishes Known

Regardless of which option you choose, advance directives help your family and healthcare provider fully understand your choices for your care. To be sure that your desires are made known and legally protected, it is important to work with an experienced advance directive law firm, like Elder Law Lawyers in Lexington, KY. Contact us today to get started on your advance directive.

Get an Advance Directive in Northern Kentucky from Elder Law Lawyers

When you’re ready to take charge of your health, schedule a consultation with the estate planning team at Elder Law Lawyers. We’ll help you create a path toward a secure, well-planned future with an advance directive. Contact us online or call us at 859-543-0061 to get started today! 

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