Plan For The Future With Confidence

Plan For The Future With Confidence

Why (and when) do you need an advance directive in Maryland?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Estate planning

An advance directive is a legal document that specifies a person’s preferences for medical care if they become unable to make decisions for themselves.

Setting up an advance directive ensures that healthcare providers and family members understand and respect your wishes regarding medical treatment.

Understanding the importance of an advance directive

An advance directive serves two main purposes: It appoints a healthcare agent and outlines your treatment preferences. This document empowers someone you trust to act as your advocate if you cannot communicate your medical wishes. It provides clear instructions on what medical actions to take or avoid, based on your values and choices. This preparation can relieve a significant burden from your loved ones, who might otherwise face difficult decisions during stressful times.

Choosing your healthcare agent

Creating an advance directive requires choosing a healthcare agent. This person will have the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. You should select someone who understands your values and wishes and is willing to advocate for you. It is also wise to discuss your medical preferences with this person to ensure they are comfortable and ready to fulfill their role if needed.

Deciding when to set up an advance directive

Individuals should prepare an advance directive now, before any urgent medical situation arises. Often, people delay this planning until they face a health crisis, which can complicate the legal and medical processes. Adults of all ages should consider setting up an advance directive as part of their broader healthcare planning. This is especially important for individuals with specific wishes about their medical treatment or those with chronic or severe illnesses.

Legal considerations in Maryland

Maryland law requires that your advance directive be in writing, signed by you and witnessed by two other individuals. These witnesses must be adults who understand the nature of the document and witness your signature freely and voluntarily. It is advisable to consult with a lawyer to ensure that your advance directive meets all legal requirements and accurately reflects your wishes.

An advance directive is a fundamental component of healthcare planning in Maryland. It provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones and ensures that your healthcare preferences are honored.