Why an Advanced Directive is a Good Idea
You may have heard the term “advanced directive”, but you may be unclear about exactly what it is or who needs one. An advanced directive is a legal document that specifies your treatment preferences should you become incapacitated. Do you need one? It might not be a bad idea.
There are three categories of advanced directives:
- Living will: A living will is a legal document that details medical treatments you would or would not want to be used to keep you alive. It addresses whether you’d want to be resuscitated by CPR or electric shock, whether you’d want to be placed on a ventilator or have tube feeding, if you’d want to receive dialysis and if so how long, and if you’d want infections to be treated aggressively. A living will can also indicate whether you’d like palliative care to keep you comfortable and if you want to donate organs for transplantation or donate your body to science.
- Healthcare proxy: A healthcare proxy is a legal document designating a person who will have the right to request or refuse treatment for someone who is not capable of making or communicating decisions.
- Power of attorney: A power of attorney gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf. A general power of attorney applies to a broad range of actions, like managing financial transactions or applying for government benefits, while a medical power of attorney simply gives someone the authority to make medical treatment decisions for you if you’re not able to make them yourself. A power of attorney is typically canceled because it was revoked or expired, or because the person giving the authority loses mental competency. A durable power of attorney, however, continues to be in effect even in the event of mental incompetency. A medical power of attorney is always considered durable, while other types of power of attorney need specific legal language to be given that status.
Why do you need an advanced directive? You never know when something is going to happen. Even if you’re incapacitated, it’s important for you to have a say in your own medical care, and that’s what having an advanced directive accomplishes. Further, the advanced directive does not take any power from you during the time that you’re competent to make decisions; it just gives you power when you are not.
An advanced directive protects your interests and allows you to make your own decisions even when you’re incapacitated. In the same way, having a plan for a funeral protects your interests after you die, by making your wishes clear. When you preplan, you can designate details of your funeral, long before that funeral occurs. Not only does this prevent guesswork, saving your family from having to make decisions on your behalf, but it can also save your family some money because when you preplan you lock in today’s prices for a future need.
Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory can help you preplan. Request your free preplanning guide or call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information today.