An Advance Healthcare Directive allows you to make certain decisions regarding healthcare and medical treatments in advance. This allows your choices to be carried out in the event that you are unconscious, or unable to make a decision at some later time.
An Advance Healthcare Directive also lets you designate one or more individuals to make healthcare and medical decisions for you if you are unable to make these decisions yourself.
Agents may be given the power to authorize or withhold treatment, make decisions for your general healthcare, and/or make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment. The powers of an Agent helps to fill any gaps when your Living Will does not cover a specific medical condition, or treatment option.
What happens if I don't have an Advance Health Care Directive?
If something were to happen causing you to become incapacitated, there could be disputes or litigation over your medical condition and treatment. Doctors may be required to keep you on life support and administer treatments, even if these would go against your (Undocumented) wishes. Your family and loved ones may be left unable to control your treatment. A dispute could also arise in your family, compounding the burdens they're already facing.
Creating an Advance Healthcare Directive can avoid these issues, and can give you the opportunity to make your preferences known.