What to Expect
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We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of living responsibly, which involves preparing for the realities of life. While we believe making the decisions involved in funeral pre-planning is one reflection of a responsible mindset, we also know the critical importance of completing an advance directive*.
Sometimes called an advance care directive or living will, these document ensure that your wishes will be carried out in the future.
Defined as "a written statement of a person's wishes regarding medical treatment," advance directives, when properly signed and witnessed, will provide guidance for medical and health care decisions in the event the individual becomes incapacitated or incompetent and can no longer make such decisions.
It requires thoughtful introspection and conversation with family members. The American Bar Association describes the process this way: "Good advance planning for health care decisions is, in reality, a continuing conversation about values, priorities, the meaning of one's life, and quality of life."
There are many resources available online to assist and guide you in writing your advance directive. One useful website is Aging With Dignity.org, which offers the Five Wishes program for preparing living wills/advance directives, as well as an informative blog and links to other media discussions on the subject. Five Wishes forms are also available from Jordan-Fernald at no cost.
In addition to on-line resources, copies of advance care directive forms can be obtained at your local hospital, as federal law requires every hospital to not only provide information about advance directives, but also to share valuable information about the related laws in your state. Your family physician may also have advance directive forms available.
No matter where you obtain your advance directive form, it will need to be witnessed and possibly notarized. If you do not have access to a notary, contact us at (207) 244-3183, we may be able to help.
*Jordan-Fernald offers this material for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice.
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