When Should You Choose an Advance Medical Directive?

 Posted on February 26, 2024 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerYour advance medical directive plan goes into effect only when you can no longer make decisions for yourself due to illness or injury. Determining when to create an advance directive depends on your individual circumstances. A Texas lawyer can help you create this legal paperwork, so you know it is handled properly. Understanding several common life stages or situations where setting up a medical directive would be ideal is helpful.

If You Are Diagnosed With a Serious Illness

Receiving a diagnosis like cancer, heart disease, or another serious health condition means that difficult treatment decisions may arise during the course of your care. Stressful hospitalizations that call for complex options could also occur. An advance directive would allow you to think through your values and priorities in a less stressful period, such as during remission, and document what types of life-prolonging care align with your wishes. Your loved ones and physicians will be prepared to honor these choices.

If You Want to Avoid Family Conflict

Sadly, over half of decision-makers report conflict among a patient’s family members regarding end-of-life care choices. An advanced care plan that clearly delineates your preferences removes the often painful guesswork from your relatives. It also avoids circumstances where disagreements might lead to pursuing overly aggressive interventions against your wishes.

If You Have Strong Care Preferences

Some individuals have strong opinions or deep personal, cultural, or faith-based values related to end-of-life interventions like CPR, ventilators that assist breathing, or feeding tubes. Documenting rules about what measures you sanction or refuse lets your power of attorney and clinical teams follow your beliefs. Include things like pain management, palliative treatments, or other unique requests here as well.

If You Want to Minimize Any Burdens

Being a medical decision-maker for another person can be an immense emotional weight, even with the best intentions and relationships. Appointing someone you trust to represent your wants via an advance care plan helps ease any guilt, doubt, or second-guessing they may harbor. Make sure to discuss seriously with your decision-maker so things are clear.

As You Age, It Makes Sense to Have a Medical Decision Maker

While a major health problem can happen at any age, our likelihood of having a serious condition, surgery, or hospitalization tends to increase as we grow older. For this reason, all senior adults should formalize their medical wishes through some type of advance directive. Living wills or other instructions give you more control over doctors and hospitals acting without complete information or consent during a crisis.

If You Have Minor Children

Parents of minor children or other dependents must plan for the possibility of being unable to care for their loved ones or make choices on their behalf. A medical power of attorney allowing a named guardian to continue raising your kids ensures their needs are provided for even if you become terminally ill or incapacitated. Your advanced medical directive can also oversee end-of-life medical choices according to your documented desires.

Contact a Fort Worth, TX Estate Planning Lawyer

Advanced medical directives allow you to have the final say over your care during critical moments when explaining consent is impossible. Everyone benefits when their wishes are clearly defined, including reduced stress for clinicians and family members. A Fort Worth, TX estate planning attorney can help you finalize this paperwork so you can have peace of mind. Call Gonzalez Law, PLLC at 817-349-7330 for a free consultation.

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