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What is an advance directive?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2023 | Estate Planning

A New York resident might create an advance directive during estate planning. An advance directive is a legal document providing instructions about a person’s critical care wishes. Also known as a living will, the advance directive comes into use when the person is still alive but unable to make decisions.

How does an advance directive work?

An advance directive gives you control over end-of-life medical treatment should you become incapacitated. You can state if you do or don’t want resuscitation, a feeding tube or a breathing machine. You could even leave instructions for the donation of your internal organs.

What are some benefits of an advance directive?

An advance directive makes sure your wishes are carried out. It can also prevent unnecessary suffering should you refuse resuscitation. Your family won’t have disagreements about your care or the burden of making important decisions while grieving.

When does the advance directive become active?

At least two doctors must confirm your inability to make medical decisions. That requires that you’re terminally ill, suffering from dementia, in a coma, brain dead or seriously injured. After the confirmation, the advance directive becomes active.

Paramedics or emergency room personnel can’t honor an advance directive. They must do their best to stabilize you and provide medical treatment.

What is a medical power of attorney?

You may also choose a medical power of attorney as part of your estate planning. You can do this in addition to having an advance directive. The medical power of attorney speaks for you when you’re unable to speak for yourself.

Planning for the future

An advance directive is clear about your final wishes. And it gives you control over your treatment should you become incapacitated. An advance directive can also make things easier for your family.

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