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Advance Directives and Living Wills Explained

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2022 | Estate Planning, Wills And Probate

Wills can help you achieve considerable control over what happens after your passing. Many people assume that wills are only for designating who inherits the various assets in your estate. But the truth is that wills can help you do much more than that. With advance directives and living wills, you can plan for every eventuality and maintain a degree of control over your health and fate, even when you are incapacitated.

If you want to learn more about living wills and advance directives, it is best to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in New Jersey. We can help you plan for every possible eventuality, and we can recommend various courses of action. With our help, you can create the estate plan that makes the most sense for you based on your unique goals, concerns, and priorities.

Filling Living Will Advance Directive form. Top view

What is an Advance Directive?

Advance directives help individuals communicate their wishes about healthcare decisions should they become incapacitated. For example, an accident may put you in a coma, and there may be very little chance of you ever recovering. In this case, an advance directive can communicate to your family and doctors whether you would like to be kept on life support, or whether you would like nature to take its course. This is only one possible example, and advance directives can apply whenever you become unable to communicate.

The Two Main Types of Advance Directives

There are two main types of advance directives. The first is known as a “living will,” while the second is known as a “health care power of attorney.” Here is a basic rundown of each option:

  • Living Wills: With a living will, you can lay out specific instructions for doctors and family members. A living will mostly involves end-of-life care, and it will become a legally binding document as soon as you lose the capacity to make healthcare decisions on your own behalf.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney: Instead of laying out specific instructions for various medical scenarios, you can also choose a health care power of attorney. This document names another individual that will make health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. This individual is known as a “principal.”

Do Not Resuscitate Orders

Also known simply as “DNR orders,” a Do Not Resuscitate Order prevents doctors from resuscitating you if you fall into a state of cardiac arrest or you become unresponsive. You do not need to write a will to establish a DNR order, and you can simply inform your doctor of your preference.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the New Jersey area for a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney, look no further than Giro, LLP, Attorneys at Law. Whether you would like to create an advance directive or you are simply trying to figure out how to make life easier for your beneficiaries, we can help you pursue the best possible options. No matter your age or health, it is always a good idea to create an advance directive. Once you take care of this, you will find that it provides you with peace of mind as you move forward with your life.