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What is an advance medical directive?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Estate Planning

Missouri estate planning often includes creating an advance medical directive. Some people also refer to it as a living will. In 2020, Gallup News reported that 45% of Americans reported having one. Why should you have one?

Do you need an advance medical directive?

An advance medical directive isn’t required for estate planning. You can choose whether or not you want one. However, it’s in your best interest to do so.

An advance directive is a legally binding document that speaks for you when you can’t speak for yourself. For example, say that you have a stroke and become unresponsive. The directive will say who should speak for you and make your medical decisions. If there’s no advance directive, you’ll have no control over who does so.

Making certain healthcare decisions in advance gives you control over your treatment. You can decide if you want certain medical procedures, such as being kept alive with a machine or breathing tube. Your family and healthcare providers are required to honor your wishes as outlined in the directive.

What are the requirements?

Any adult of sound mind can create a living will in Missouri. You must also get the document signed and witnessed by two people, preferably over the age of 18. You should have the document notarized.

An advance medical directive can help you, your family and your healthcare providers. You might want to consider including this document in your estate plan. It can feel uncomfortable to think about a future where you’re unable to think, speak or act on your behalf. However, if that should come to pass, the advance medical directive will make the situation easier.