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What is an advance directive?

| May 7, 2021 | Care Planning |

How do you picture your retirement? Will you spend your days walking around the golf course with friends? Or do you see yourself tending to the garden and playing with smiling grandchildren?

Human brains paint a rosier picture of the distant future than of the near future. They forget about the things that may prevent distant dreams from becoming a reality. Your grandchildren might be screaming rather than smiling. A bad back might make bending down to pick flowers painful, or a hip problem make it impossible to walk further than the first hole.

When creating your estate plan, you need to think about worst-case scenarios as well as best-case ones. Ill health is a reality for many in their later years. Making an advanced directive is essential.

There are two types of advance directive to choose from in New Jersey

You might hope for a swift death on the golf course, content after hitting a hole in one. Or a peaceful one in your bed after a day playing with your grandchildren. Yet, death can be a drawn-out affair. An illness or accident could result in drawn-out pain and the inability to communicate. It is why you need an advanced directive.

An advanced directive prepares for if your future does not go to plan. It lets you say now what treatment you do and do not want later.

There are two types of advanced directives in New Jersey:

  • Instruction directives: You write down your preferences now. Medics will follow your written instructions if you are incapable of making or communicating decisions.
  • Proxy directives: You give someone else the power to make health care decisions for you, should you not be able to make them yourself.

You may feel young and healthy now, yet you can never predict what will happen. Creating an advanced directive now avoids your family having to take tough decisions about your health care in the future.