Imagine the agony and distress family members or friends would feel if they were put in a position to make decisions on your behalf without knowing your wishes. The courts have rules that all mentally competent adults have the right to refuse medical care. Having a written Advance Medical Directive for your loved ones gives them a voice when they are unable to make decisions or communicate their wishes.
An Advance Medical Directive is the primary legal document for any health care decisions made when you are unable to speak or care for yourself. Unlike a Living Will, it goes beyond life-prolonging medical care. An Advance Medical Directive incorporates the Health Care Power of Attorney and your Living Will into one document and is the preferred legal tool for such matters.
While having an attorney is not required to complete an Advance Medical Directive, it may be helpful to call upon their services. Before you draw up an Advance Medical Directive for yourself or a loved one, think about the following questions:
First, it's a good idea to consider your personal values.
You should review these documents every year to insure the information is still valid. It can be revoked or changed at any time. Be sure copies of the document are given to family members and/or friends, your physician and attorney. If you or your loved one are hospitalized or placed in a nursing home it should also be part of your medical record.