People in Maryland who are creating an estate plan may want to include an advance directive as a part of it. An advance directive contains documents that instruct people about the type of care that you want if you are incapacitated and therefore cannot communicate.
Elements of an advance directive
There are basically two elements to an advance directive. One is appointing someone who can make health care decisions for you. The other is drawing up a document that specifies what kind of care you want, often called a living will. The state of Maryland has worked to make it easier for people to create advance directives and for them to be recognized, including permitting an electronic or video statement in which you appoint a health care proxy.
Questions to ask
When choosing the person to act as your health care proxy, it is important to consider whether you can talk to them about your wishes and whether they will be willing and able to carry them out. When creating your living will, you should think carefully about different scenarios and the potential consequences. For example, do you want to be placed on life support if you are unlikely to emerge from a coma? What is your definition of “quality of life,” and how important it is to you? What do you know about such life-saving measures as CPR and feeding tubes, and in what circumstances do you want these used? Your answer may be anywhere in a range from “always” to “never.”
If you have a physician, you may want to discuss this with them as well. Thinking through the issues around an advance directive is not an easy task. However, doing so can help ensure that your loved ones can be confident that they understand your wishes and that those wishes can be carried out.