When we’re young, it’s easy to imagine that we’ll live forever in good health. Our bodies heal relatively quickly from injury or illness, and we can bounce back even from more serious accidents. Still, life is full of surprises. The more life experience we live, the more we begin to appreciate how everything we come to anticipate in our day-to-day lives could change rather quickly.
While as a younger person, you may not be ready to dive into estate planning documents such as a will, trust or power of attorney, it is worth a second thought to consider setting up an advance medical directive.
What does an advance directive do?
An advance health directive is a document that explicitly states your desires for certain types of medical care in the event that you are unable to communicate those desires and preferences for yourself. It does not apply to your financial or property rights, so you don’t need to worry about whomever you authorize to start making broad life decisions on your behalf.
What it does do, however, is communicate to healthcare personnel in hospitals, urgent care facilities, nursing homes and the like what types of procedures you do or do not want doing to you in case of emergency. For example, if you do not want to be placed on a respirator or feeding tube, or do not want certain types of life-saving surgeries, this information would be included in your directive.
Advance directives can also apply to organ donation in the event that you die while in care. The directive can be changed at any time while you are of sound mind and capable of such communication, so if you change your mind as you get older, that’s okay. Crafting a clear and comprehensive advance directive is a great way to begin your estate planning because it can provide peace of mind no matter how old you are. You’ll feel confident that in the event you become too ill or incapacitated for any reason, your medical care wishes will be honored.