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Do I need an advance directive?

The future brings about uncertainty. Though you may be healthy and active now, there’s always the chance of falling ill unexpectedly. According to studies, about seven in 10 Americans will experience a time in their lives in which they won’t be able to make decisions for themselves.

If that time came, do you know who would make decisions for you? What decisions would they make on your behalf? By creating an advance directive, you can gain some peace of mind.

What is an advance directive?

In Ohio, advance directives are documents that give instructions about your healthcare wishes if you are unable to express them yourself because of a medical condition.

An advance directive may delineate who has power of attorney if you’re incapacitated and can include a living will. Power of attorney sets who you want to act as your proxy in case you fall ill, and a living will identifies what procedures or steps you want taken if you’re permanently unconscious or terminally ill.

It’s is important to note that an advance directive is not a replacement for a conventional will.

What should I include in my living will?

Some medical decisions that you might consider in your living will include:

  • The use of ventilation, feeding tubes, dialysis, intubation or CPR
  • Palliative care plans
  • Organ and tissue donation
  • Whole-body donation for scientific study
  • A do-not-resuscitate or do-not-intubate order

Creating an advance directive

Creating an advance directive may seem like an off-putting task. It’s hard to think about our own mortality. But working with an attorney to create a document that ensures your final wishes are met can put some certainty back in an uncertain world.

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  • Dayton Bar Association 1883
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