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Do you need an advance directive?

On Behalf of | Aug 14, 2023 | Estate Planning |

An advance directive is a legal document that speaks for you when you can’t speak for yourself. Maryland healthcare providers and your family members will know what you want concerning your care. No one wants to think about losing the ability to make personal healthcare decisions, but it could become a reality.

An advance directive can fit in well with your estate planning. You can include a living will, which provides instructions on the type of care that you want or don’t want.

For example, you could state that you don’t want any resuscitation attempts made if you go into cardiac or respiratory arrest. Also known as a DNR, or “do not resuscitate” order, this legal document tells healthcare providers that you do not want them to perform CPR on you or take any steps to restart your breathing or heart.

You can also consider creating a healthcare power of attorney document. The person you choose becomes the only person who can make healthcare decisions on your behalf. There are several reasons why you might want to create an advance directive.

Major illness

Perhaps you’re dealing with a major illness – such as cancer. Although you’re currently able to speak for yourself, it’s possible that you could take a turn for the worse, or you may have a bad reaction to a new medicine that you did not anticipate. It could be a good idea to be cautious by naming a healthcare proxy ahead of time.


Surgical complications are not unheard of. Any surgery, no matter how minor, can lead to complications. You might want an advance directive in place before getting any surgery, even a simple cosmetic procedure.


Older people are generally at a higher risk for acquiring certain illnesses or conditions. For example, a person is more likely to experience heart disease, stroke, dementia or diabetes as they age. It’s possible that you won’t develop these conditions, but an advance directive can help if your health takes a downturn.

You never know what life will send your way. An advance directive protects you in case something goes awry with your health.