Myths About Advanced Directives

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Advanced Directive Myths in Indiana


Today I’d like to talk a little bit about a common myth or mistake regarding advanced directives or living wills.  Here is the nature of the conversation that I had with somebody about what they wanted in their estate plan. The response was, you know, a living will and advanced directives, these documents are only about what I don’t want. They only talk about no treatment and taking things away.

I said, well that’s not really true, but before we get started, let’s just review what advanced directives. An advanced directive is a document or it could be multiple documents that set forth your end of life wishes.

It could be whether you want nutrition, or it could be whether you want heroic measures to prolong your life. It could be whatever you want.

An advanced directive can also transfer to the power to make this decision, if you are unable, to a proxy, healthcare representative or power of attorney.

This is generally what advanced directives do. But there’s something that should be much more important in an advanced directive. A lot of folks say, they don’t want any heroic means. I don’t want this, I don’t want that.

But there are other wishes that you might want to put into your advanced directives.  For instance, if you’re really sit and think about it, maybe you would want to be put on a ventilator, but maybe only three days to a week. And if at that time you do not improve or the doctor say there’s really no chance of you improving, then you want the ventilator removed and you don’t want any other heroic means.

Maybe you do not want any nutrition or water. The same thing with certain medications or certain treatments. You can put these wishes within your advanced directive. So this way your family members and healthcare providers know your wishes.

For instance, when the family is making a decision they can say mom said she was okay going on a ventilator doctor for you know, three days. But after three days, if she’s not going to get any better, I think we’re going to have to revisit her condition and see if we’re going to take have the ventilator removed. You see, these are the real life issues that folks need to think about when they’re having their estate plan prepared.

An estate plan including advanced directives are all about your wishes and what you want in your life and when you pass away.