Why is an Advance Health Care Directive important?

An Advance Health Care Directive can be very helpful to your family when you need them to speak for you.

If you have named a family member or friend to be your agent under a Power of Attorney for Health Care, they are authorized to speak for you if you become unable to communicate. If you have also signed an advance health care directive, often referred to as a Living Will, they will know your wishes about the use of certain life-sustaining procedures.

A living will is a document you may sign, with witnesses, that states your desires about the use of feeding tubes and other life-sustaining procedures in the case of terminal illness or persistent vegetative state.

Although these serious topics can be difficult to discuss, you will make it easier for your family if you have made your wishes known ahead of time.

Wisconsin and many other states have written living will forms that you can use to give guidance to your health care agent. The forms ask you whether you want feeding tubes used in the case of terminal illness and persistent vegetative state, and whether you want life-sustaining measures used if you are in a persistent vegetative state.

When you meet with your lawyer about estate planning, you will also address advance care directives and the necessary documents. The wording of the questions on the forms may be confusing, but your attorney will help you properly complete the forms and sign them with witnesses.

Make an appointment now to prepare your important documents. You will gain peace of mind and will help your family make important decisions for you later.