In Maryland, many people want to maintain some semblance of control over their future even if they are in a condition where they cannot express those preferences themselves. As part of comprehensive estate planning, many people will want to create an advance directive. The treatment part of the advance directive is called the living will. With this document, a health care agent is named and will speak for the incapacitated person – known as the principal. The decision-making power is left to the discretion of the principal, but the agent has significant power. When deciding on options, having experienced assistance is important.
Treatment preferences in an advance directive
A fundamental part of the advance directive is the person’s treatment preferences. Understanding what this entails is vital as it grants great sway to the agent. There is wide latitude when creating an advance directive. The principal can detail exactly how close the agent must adhere to the document. The living will states when procedures will be done if the principal is likely to die without them. For example, if a person cannot breathe on his or her own without mechanical assistance and that type of assistance is unwanted, then it will not be given. Other instances in which this will be relevant is if the principal is in a vegetative state or has a condition that cannot be cured.
Being aware of the gravity of an advance directive is key
The advance directive should not be taken lightly. When naming an agent, it should be someone trustworthy who will adhere to the person’s desires despite emotional or personal feelings about it. This could be a family member or a close friend. It might also be wise to have backup agents if the first choice is not able to complete the tasks and live up to the responsibilities. An advance directive is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan. Knowing all the aspects of estate planning is imperative whether an advance directive is part of it or not.
For estate planning, caring and experienced representation is crucial
Along with the advance directive, other estate planning documents are a will, a trust and a power of attorney. To suit the specific needs and tailor the plan to the individual, it is advisable to seek competent advice from the start. Caring for loved ones and ensuring their needs are met can be worrisome and complex. To do so effectively, it is useful to have help from the beginning to ensure a predictable outcome.