Estate planning may involve someone drafting a will, creating a trust or creating documents that take effect while they are still alive. Not that long ago, people planning estates in Washington would create living wills. However, the state has transitioned now to advance directives instead.
Individuals who create advance medical directives retain control over the treatment that they receive for an injury or illness even if they are incapable of communication or unable to make their own decisions because of a lack of capacity. What are some of the reasons that people create advance directives in Washington?
They are about to start a job or college
Advance directives may seem like something that older adults need, but they are particularly beneficial for young adults about to start their careers or move away to college.
When someone turns 18, their parents no longer have the legal right to make medical decisions or access their medical records. An advance directive is therefore very beneficial for those who are too old for parental support and not yet married.
Their family circumstances just changed
Did your spouse just die, or did you file for divorce? When your household changes, especially when your marital status changes, you may not have anyone to speak on your behalf in a medical emergency.
Some people also draft an advance directive because they would like to shield their spouse from the responsibility of making difficult medical decisions. Such obligations can be a heavy burden when someone already has to cope with the stress of a medically-vulnerable spouse requiring extensive care.
They just received a major diagnosis
Did your doctor just warn you that you are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease? Are you about to start cancer treatment?
When you know there will be significant health challenges in your future, the possibility of medical incapacitation or the loss of your testamentary capacity is more pressing than it would be in typical scenarios.