5 Myths About Advance DirectivesA patient advocate designation (also commonly called an advance directive, medical directive, healthcare directive, health care power of attorney or living will) is a legal document that lays out your end-of-life wishes regarding medical treatment, resuscitation, and other types of end-of-life care. This is a crucial estate planning tool that makes sure your end-of-life preferences are carried out, and relieves your loved ones and doctors of having to guess and make painful decisions without your guidance. It’s important to know what an advance directive can and can’t do. Here are 5 common myths about advance directives.

1. Advance directives are only for the elderly

This is far from just an issue for older people. An end-of-life scenario can take place at any age. In fact, an advance directive is arguably even more important for younger people; someone in their 20’s or 30’s could be kept alive for decades in circumstances they would not have chosen.

2. An advance directive is exclusively for “do not…” orders

Advance directives do not just apply to “do not treat” or “do not resuscitate” orders. They set forth your wishes for medical treatment you don’t want and the treatment you do want.

3. You must use Michigan’s statutory form for your advance directive to be valid

Most states, including Michigan, do not require a specific form. Doctors are still legally obligated to respect your end-of-life treatment issues regardless of the kind of form you use for the directive.  Although you need to be careful, because Michigan’s statute requires that your advance directive be witnessed by two witnesses who are not close relatives or connected with you medical or health care providers.

4. You shouldn’t create an advance directive until you know precisely what your end-of-life wishes are

End-of-life healthcare is a complicated and emotional issue. You cannot predict what your end-of-life scenario might look like, and your wishes may evolve over time. Nevertheless, you can at least appoint a family member, trusted loved one or friend to act as proxy until you have more certainty.

5. The task is complete when you sign the directive and give it to your doctor

This is an ongoing process. You should look over your end-of-life wishes annually and/or whenever there is a change in your status. Whenever you make a change, communicate it to family and anyone else that needs to know.

Glenn Matecun has the experience and expertise to assist you or your loved one in creating and executing an patient advocate designation and otherwise plan and prepare for an end-of-life scenario. Check out our Facebook page or give us a call at our Howell office (517) 548-7400, or our Clinton Township office (586) 751-0779.

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