Most documents within an estate plan involve preparing your family for the event of your passing. There is one document, however, that addresses how to handle your medical care while you’re still alive: the healthcare directive.

What Is a Healthcare Directive?

A healthcare directive, also known as an “advance directive,” is a legal document that outlines your healthcare wishes in the event that you can’t communicate or make your own decisions. This often occurs due to a terminal illness or a serious injury.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there are many details you can add to your healthcare directive such as:

  • The person (agent) you trust to make healthcare decisions for you
  • A second agent should the first agent be unavailable
  • The type of medical treatment you do and don’t want
  • Where you wish to receive your medical care
  • Donation of organs
  • Funeral arrangements

Your personal agent (individual allowed to make healthcare decisions for you) must be at least 18 years old. Once you create and sign your directive, it will remain effective until you change it or formally cancel it.

Why Should You Have a Healthcare Directive?

Although you will still receive the necessary medical treatment in the event of an accident or illness, a healthcare directive protects your wishes. Without a directive, you’ll leave your healthcare decisions up to those closest to you. This often results in confusion, unnecessary strain on your family, and medical procedures or treatment you would not otherwise consent to.

How to Create a Healthcare Directive

The directive must be in writing and must fully state your name. You must also sign the document. Once your signature is attached, you’ll need to have it verified by a notary public. For assistance in creating a legally binding directive, we recommend reaching out to an estate planning attorney.

Ready to Protect Your Healthcare Wishes?

If you wish to protect your healthcare wishes in the event of a serious accident or illness, you need a healthcare directive. Our legal team at White & Associates can help. To learn more about directives or for help with planning for your future, send us a message.

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