One thing that many people have in common is a need or desire for control over their life. An advanced directive can do that in an important and emotional situation. It can have profound implications for how an individual ends their life. Family and loved ones are greatly affected as well.
An advanced directive, for the purposes of health, spell out how you would like to be treated medically if you are alive and no longer capable of making decisions for yourself. Traditionally we think of this as “when to pull to the plug” or take a comatose person off of life support. But it can be more than that. States vary in terms of laws and what may be on a form in one state may be different from another.
Here is a sample from the state of Nevada that I was finally able to talk my mother into signing shortly before her exploratory surgery: Click here. Please consult a lawyer if you would like any advice or if you have any questions.
If you are in a situation where you can’t make decisions, it can be a heavy burden on your family to try to figure out what you want. Perhaps the most famous case involves Terry Schiavo . If you’re on the fence or haven’t thought about it, this case may change your mind.
The simple filling out of a piece of paper can insure that your wishes are followed, and loved ones don’t needlessly suffer, agonize and fight amongst each other. As the person appointed to make decisions for my mother, I can tell you it was agonizing enough with an advanced directive filled out. Without it, would have been even worse.
If you’re concerned about the permanence of such a document, research your state laws or consult an attorney. If they are similar to current law, as of this writing, in Nevada, you would maintain the right to change your wishes and change the person you give the power to make your decisions, for as long as you are mentally competent to do so.
One false assumption is that there will always be time to fill out and advanced directive later. By their definition, accidents are not planned for. And surgery carries risks. Therefore, for the benefit and peace of mind of having your wishes carried out, and to minimize the pain your loved ones would already be going through, please consider filling out an advanced directive.
If you are interested, here is a link to Caring Connections. As of this writing,their website provides a link to a PDF of every states advanced directive form with detailed instructions. I will echo a statement express on this site: Contact your state’s attorney general’s office or lawyer if you have questions.
An advanced directive for finances as well as a last will and testament are also important and may be covered in future blogs, however it is never too soon for you to research and consider on your own.
You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal services provider.