An estate plan is more than a will. Though many Maryland residents have heard of or have executed last wills and testaments to direct the disposition of the property contained in their end-of-life estates, most people need more than just wills to ensure their testamentary wishes are executed. One important part of the estate planning process is the creation and execution of an advance directive.
This post will provide information on advance directives and their purposes in end-of-life planning. No legal advice or guidance is conveyed in its contents. All questions and concerns regarding the estate planning process should be managed and discussed with local estate planning attorneys.
What is an advance directive?
An advance directive is a powerful legal document. It provides information and preferences on a person’s end-of-life care to medical professionals when they are unable to make such decisions on their own. For example, if a person becomes medically incapacitated and cannot advise their doctors on if they desire to utilize life-saving procedures, the advance directive will instruct the doctors on the individual’s wishes.
How do you create an advance directive?
It is important to understand that like other testamentary devices, advance directives require specific elements in order to be considered valid. Generally, advance directives must be in writing and must be signed by witnesses. An estate planning attorney can guide an interested party through the necessary steps to reach execution of the document.
As stated, an advance directive is only one part of a comprehensive estate plan. That plan may include a will, trusts, advance directives, powers of attorney, and other devices. No two estate plans may look alike, and the needs and preferences of an individual will guide how and what they include in their own plan. Legal help is often an important component to getting estate planning right and protecting an individual’s assets and future.