Most people understand the importance of having a will, but very few take the time to write out an advanced directive.
Even fewer people know what an advanced directive is and why they should have one.
It is the advanced directive and not the will, ironically, that will affect the person whose name it is under. This is because advanced directives give clarity about end-of-life treatment during times when a person is unable to make decisions for himself or herself.
An advanced directive is a legal document stating what treatment an individual wishes to undergo if a medical situation arises in which they cannot make the decision for themselves. This can bring clarity in areas ranging from organ donation to do-not-resuscitate orders.
In the case of a medical crisis, not knowing what treatment a patient desires to undergo, puts pressure on health care providers and loved ones.
The waters get murky as emotions are involved, especially when it comes to end-of-life treatment.
Advanced directives give people the opportunity to clarify what they want in regards to treatment, leaving much less decision making open to speculation. It is not fair to place the burden of these decisions on loved ones who are already dealing with potential loss, especially considering logical decisions are hard to come by in times of emotional distress.
Advanced directives may seem precautionary, but so do seat belts until a car wreck happens. Such simple steps can prevent potential headaches and heartaches.
When advanced directives are understood, only laziness stands between potential stress and confusion. It is inconsiderate to leave such decisions to loved ones. We must be prepared and write an advanced directive.