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What is an advance directive?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2022 | Estate planning |

When you focus on your estate plan, you will likely spend most of your time working on things like your will and any potential trusts you want to set up. These all serve your estate well after your death, but did you know that you can take steps to protect your family from making hard choices while you are still alive, too?

This is where an advance directive comes in handy, and it is something everyone should know about.

The uses of advance directives

Medline Plus discusses advance directives, which serve as a potential way to let you pass on your medical desires to your family members even if you cannot actually communicate with them anymore.

For example, say you get into a car accident. This crash gives you brain damage that puts you into a coma, rendering you incapable of talking to anyone. Or say that you suffered from a stroke that has seemingly left you in a vegetative state, unable to communicate with your loved ones.

Who it helps

In these situations, without an advance directive, it is up to your family to make heart-wrenching decisions such as whether to keep you on life support or take you off. However, if you have an advance directive, you can dictate exactly what you want done in any given situation down to detailed and fine directions.

This gives you peace of mind, as you know that no matter what happens, your wishes will get met. It also alleviates an enormous potential burden from the shoulders of your loved ones, as they no longer have to worry about making these painful choices.