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Advance Directives and Why they are Important

Advance care planning is not just about elderly planning.  It is about making your wishes known and directing people you trust to carry out your wishes. Advance directives help loved ones make important decisions in the event you cannot make these decisions for yourself.

The three main Advance Directives are the Durable Power of Attorney, the Health Care Power of Attorney, and the Living Will.  Each of these documents provide direction with how you would like decisions to be made on your behalf in the event of your incompetency or incapacity.  In each of these documents, you will appoint a trusted loved one as your fiduciary agent.  Your agent will have the capacity to carry out essential decisions based on your wishes.

First, the Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an agent to handle your finances, properly and efficiently, in the event you become incompetent or unable to handle them for yourself.  Second, the Health Care Power of Attorney allows your appointed agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. Lastly, the Living Will refers to life-sustaining treatment.  If you have a Living Will, and under very specific circumstances, you are informing the doctors prior to your incompetency, that you do not wish to remain on life-sustaining treatment in the event you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill. Having a Living Will in place allows medical professionals to understand your wishes and alleviate the burden from your loved ones from having to make these difficult determinations.

We hear far too many horror stories of families battling over medical and end of life decisions, that simple planning with Advance Directives can avoid for your family. Lardiere McNair DiNicola & Stonebrook can help facilitate your planning to make sure your wishes are known in advance and that the people you trust are appointed on your behalf for when the unthinkable happens.  Call today for a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your planning.

Annemarie Gill is an Associate Attorney at Lardiere McNair DiNicola & Stonebrooke, Ltd.  To read more about our firm, please visit

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