Tennessee residents may have heard of an advanced directive, but not be entirely sure what it is. Younger residents may associate it with something for older people, but the reality is an advanced directive is a good idea for anyone to have, for many reasons.
What is an advanced directive?
An advanced directive is a document that communicates your wishes regarding health or medical decisions ahead of time in case you become incapacitated or unconscious and unable to communicate them at that time. Any adult can create an advanced directive as part of an estate plan.
Illness or injury can strike at any age, and an advanced directive would allow you to make your own medical or healthcare choices, rather than leaving them to a doctor or family member who is left to guess at what they think you would want.
For example, if you were involved in a catastrophic accident that left you in a coma, would you like to be kept alive by machines? An advanced directive would let people know what you want to be done if that situation were to occur. The terms of the advanced directive would not be carried out unless and until you became unable to make these decisions yourself.
In Tennessee, an advanced directive is part of an overall advanced care plan. The care plan can incorporate a living will and designate an agent, which is the person you choose to make your desired healthcare or medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself.
No one wants to think about a potential tragedy that could result in the inability to communicate on matters as crucial as medical or healthcare decisions, but creating an advanced directive is a responsible and sensible decision. You can feel confident that your wishes will be carried out exactly as you want them to be and ease the burden on your family members.
You may have many questions on what exactly goes into an advanced directive and how to ensure it is legally valid. An experienced attorney can help with the process.