Jun 19, 2017

Posted in Blog - "Altman Speaks"

Are Your Medical Directives Easily Accessible?

Medical advance directives are an important estate planning tool that designate an individual to make decisions and act on your behalf should you have an accident or become incapacitated. In addition to preparing these documents with the guidance of an estate planning specialist, it is also important to make sure those documents are easily accessible should the need arise.

What is a medical directive?

Medical directives, also known as advance health directives (and other names depending upon the state you reside in), are legal documents that permit an individual to express their wishes regarding their medical care. They allow the individual to designate another person to assume responsibility for making sure those wishes are carried out, and to make decisions on their behalf should they have an accident or become incapacitated.

What to do with your completed medical directives

After completing your advance medical directives, review them with your doctor to make sure the forms are filled out properly. Once the forms are finalized, take the following steps:

  • Place the original forms in a safe place that is also easily accessible
  • Provide your doctor with a copy of the directive
  • Give health care agents and any alternate agents a copy of the form
  • Make note of who has copies of your advance directives and store it with your original
  • Discuss your advance directives with family members and trusted loved ones
  • Take a copy of the healthcare directive with you when you travel
  • Carry a card in your wallet that states you have advance directives, lists where a copy of those directives can be found, and clearly identifies your health care agent

The above measures will ensure that your medical directives are in safe keeping and readily available to those individuals who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.

Advanced planning is an ongoing process

It is not uncommon to have some trepidation when signing a medical directive. After all, no one knows what the future might bring and who is to say that your wishes of today will be your wishes of tomorrow? Advanced planning is an ongoing process and documents can be changed at any time to reflect current circumstances. By appointing a trusted individual to make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so, you are already taking an important step to safeguard your future care.

Our acclaimed Maryland estate planning attorneys help you take charge of your future

No one likes to think about end-of-life planning. But having a plan of your choosing is better than having the courts make those decisions for you. Consult an estate planning specialist to discuss your concerns and your goals, and develop a plan that is right for you. At Altman & Associates, estate planning is all we do. For more than 40 years, we have worked with individuals, couples, and families to develop financial tools that will help them achieve their goals. We serve the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia region with convenient office locations in Columbia and Rockville. Contact us today to arrange for a consultation at 301-468-3220 or online.

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