When it comes to estate planning, it’s easy to assume that it’s mostly for older folks. But there are some aspects that can be helpful at any age. Advance healthcare directives are one of these aspects – accidents and unexpected illnesses can happen even to the young, and a directive helps remove the burden from a growing family, should something go wrong.
What is an advance healthcare directive?
We make decisions about our own health care all of the time. But what if you’re injured and incapacitated? What if you’re struck down with a sudden illness and unable to communicate with medical professionals?
This is when an advance healthcare directive comes in. It allows you to express your wishes with respect to the medical treatment you do, or do not, want to receive if it becomes necessary.
What goes into an advance directive?
The contents of an advance directive are entirely up to you; Alaska gives you many options to choose from. For starters, you can appoint an agent to make decisions for you, should you be unable to do so yourself.
Typically, this is a family member or close friend – someone you trust and who knows what you want. You can choose to give them complete authority to make any decision allowed by law, or you can limit their authority to specific circumstances.
You can also include instructions to medical professionals in your advance directive. You can express your consent or refusal to any treatment, procedure or type of service. This includes potential life-prolonging treatments, such as artificial nutrition and hydration.
Whether for your own peace of mind or for that of your family, advance healthcare directives help to ensure you’re treated in accordance with your own beliefs and wishes – at a time when fear and confusion would otherwise make decisions for you.