April 16, 2013 Articles

Demystifying the Advance Health Care Directive

Be prepared in the event you cannot make decisions on your own.

By Carrie L. Anderson

I have a confession: I am a thirty-something attorney, and I do not have an advance health care directive. I suspect that I am not alone. When it comes to my personal life, I, like many of my peers, have fallen short of my professional training and failed to execute this simple, Internet-accessible task. Your partner or spouse probably does not have one either. Perhaps you believe it is something only for your grandparents or parents to consider as they move into their senior years. Deep down, we all know better. This year, I decided to remedy this situation by learning the necessary facts about advance health care directives and drafting one for myself.

In my initial research, I discovered that advance health care directives, living wills, and durable power of attorney for health care not only serve different purposes, but also they are less complicated than one might expect. However, the decisions regarding what to include inan advance health care directive is an entirely different can of worms. By following some basic guidelines, you can save your loved ones unnecessary grief if there ever comes a time when you are unable to make your own medical decisions.

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