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Nolan Elder Law and Estate Planning, LLC Blog

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Why You Need an Advance Directive for Healthcare in Alabama

What is an advance directive?

You may have never heard of an advance directive, or you may understand what this estate planning tool is, but feel you do not need one as you are relatively young and healthy.  The truth is that everyone can benefit from having an advance directive for health care in place in case they become incapacitated.  Our Alabama estate planning lawyers define advance directives for you and discuss why you need one now.  

Advance Directives Defined

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to name a person to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated.  You can also dictate your decisions about end of life care.  With an advance directive for healthcare, which should include a durable power of attorney for health care, you can carefully select a person you trust to make healthcare decisions for you either temporarily or permanently.  Without an advance directive, the courts will be forced to appoint your closest relative to make these decisions, who may not be the person you would have selected.  

The Importance of an Advance Directive

Advance directives can benefit every individual, but they are of critical importance for certain people.  Unmarried adults need an advance directive in place so that their parents or another party they wish to designate, have the power to make their desired health care decisions.  Absent an advance directive, young adults may not have an authorized agent for healthcare.  Families with internal feuds may benefit greatly from an advance directive, as disagreements could stall or negatively impact your treatment when one clear agent has not be authorized to make decisions on your behalf.  

Your advance directive created in Alabama, in compliance with Alabama law, will be valid in the state.  Advance directives generated in other states may be accepted in some circumstances.  You can change your advance directive at any time by destroying the document, writing and signing a cancellation, or creating a new document.  Consult with an estate planning lawyer in your area to get started with the process of generating an advance directive for healthcare so that you and your family are protected in the unfortunate event you become incapacitated.

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