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How does an advance medical directive help me?

Even though you are getting older, you probably still feel alert and healthy. You may find thinking about future medical care unpleasant. Doing so requires you to think about being incapacitated in a hospital.

Approximately 64% of American adults don't have an advance medical directive. Planning for tough medical decisions before they are here can be difficult. But an advance medical directive is an important part of an estate plan. It makes sure you can let your loved ones know what your medical wishes are.

How an advance medical directive protects you

Illness or injury can happen at any time. They may prevent you from expressing your wishes for your medical care. An advance medical directive lets your doctors and loved ones know your wishes when you can't. It makes sure that you receive the care you want.

For example, if you have a serious medical incident that leaves you in a coma, you may want doctors to do everything possible to revive you. Or you may feel that doctors should just make you comfortable. Either way, an advance directive lets you make the decision that you prefer.

A directive protects your family as well

When a loved one is in the hospital and unable to speak, emotions run high. Your family may find themselves unable to agree on what care is best for you. By listing out exactly what your medical wishes are, you protect your family from making that tough decision in a difficult time.

Talk with your family and doctors

An advance medical directive requires a lot of thought and discussion. Speak with your doctor about situations that may arise. Discussing will help you understand what is important to you. Talk with your family as well. Make sure they can have access to your instructions if anything happens.

While thinking about future health issues is difficult, starting now makes sure you stay prepared.

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