It may be a tough conversation to create an Advance Directive. However, it can give you peace of mind.
While it may be difficult to come to conclusions needed to create an Advance Directive, it is really a good idea to have one when you reach the age of majority, according to The Herald News in “Being Prepared: Advance Directives.” An Advance Directive lets your family and the medical community know what you would want, if you become incapacitated
An estate planning attorney can help you ensure that you have an Advance Directive in place which conveys your wishes to your loved ones. Discuss this ahead of time and let your family members know what you would want to happen in advance.
Select a person you know and trust to be your healthcare agent. Tell them you have selected them to serve in that role. Don't let this be a surprise to them at the last minute. They will need to fully understand your wishes and be willing to carry them out.
Be as specific as you can about what kind of treatment you would want and which you would not. That includes medical ventilation, a feeding tube, kidney dialysis and other treatments.
Do you want to be resuscitated if you stop breathing, or have CPR performed, if your heart stops working? You'll want to have a DNR—Do Not Resuscitate—if you don't want extreme measures to be taken to keep you alive.
Once you have made your decisions, meet with an estate planning attorney to complete a written advanced directive.
States have different sets of rules regarding advance care directives, so an estate planning attorney in your state of residence is necessary.
You should keep your advance directive and DNR document where someone can get them, if an emergency occurs. Do not give it to a relative who lives two states away—they will not get to you in time. Be sure that everyone involved with your healthcare has a copy. This includes your primary care physician. Ask that your directive be maintained in your official medical file.
If you are wondering how or when to have this conversation about a loved one's end-of-life preferences, the answer is now. Start by sharing your own wishes and then ask them to share theirs. Ask if they have made the proper preparations for their wishes to be carried out and discuss what must happen to have their wishes followed.
Resource: The Herald News (Aug. 10, 2018) “Being Prepared: Advanced Directives”
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