Do You Have an Advance Care Directive? Study Says Probably not

February 19, 2014

Making plans for the future can help people get organized, keep to a budget and identify long-term goals. People who tend to plan ahead generally appreciate the process because they can address potential issues before they become a problem and they can be prepared. But even people who really enjoy this process may find it challenging to put together an estate plan. It can be uncomfortable to discuss this type of planning because it involves some difficult subjects; but it can be one of the most critical tools a person has when it comes to end-of-life care.

For example, do you have an advanced health care directive? If you do, you probably already realize how important this document can be. But if you are like nearly 80 percent of the country, you do not have one and could run into some serious issues if you get sick and cannot make care decisions on your own.

Advanced health care directives, or living wills, can be a very important component of a person’s estate plan. With this document, a person can make decisions for what type of health care he or she wants or does not want in the event that the individual is incapable of communicating these wishes.

For example, many people have very specific requests when it comes to what, if any, life-sustaining measures should or should not be taken if they are declared brain dead. By completing this document before a traumatic event, a person’s wishes can be respected. Having this document also makes it easier on loved ones by not requiring them to make these decisions.

Some studies suggest that only 20 percent of people in the U.S. have a living will in place. That leaves an enormous population of people without the protections that an advanced health care directives can provide. However, people all across Los Angeles can benefit from taking the step to complete this and other important estate planning documents. It may be a difficult process, but with the guidance of an estate planning attorney, people can put together an effective estate plan that serves as a valuable tool in expressing your wishes.

Source: WTVR, “Richmond lawyer explains less than 20 percent of nation has living will,” Stephanie Rochon, Feb. 17, 2014

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