Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb, LLC | attorneys at law

What is an advance directive?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2023 | Estate Planning & Probate

When making an estate plan, one type of document that you can use is known as an advance directive. Not all estate plans have these documents, but they help you go beyond what you can do with a standard will.

That being said, there are different types of advance directives that you can use. Many of them, although not all, are based around medical decisions. Let’s look at a few examples below.

A living will

A living will essentially allows you to make end-of-life decisions now. Maybe you know that you don’t want to be kept on life support if you have a heart attack or a stroke. You can create an advance directive specifying that you do not want that medical treatment under any circumstances. You can also specify the treatments that you do want or lay out a general care plan for doctors to use.

A medical power of attorney

In some cases, making a list of potential treatments doesn’t seem like enough. A power of attorney is used to choose an agent who can make medical decisions for you. If you’re incapacitated, the power of attorney springs into action, and your agent is granted this legal ability.

A financial power of attorney

Similarly, another advance directive is a power of attorney that gives someone the ability to make financial decisions or legal decisions. For example, they may be able to help an incapacitated person pay their bills, pay their taxes or get the financial assistance they need for medical treatment.

All of these documents have their benefits. It’s important for those who are creating estate plans to know about all the options that they have.