Thinking of end-of-life plans is never a pleasant subject. As difficult as it may be, it is a topic you should consider and discuss with your loved ones.
An advance healthcare directive is a written document that states your wishes regarding medical treatment if you become incapacitated. In New Jersey, there are three types of advance directives:
- A living will: a document written by an individual providing instructions regarding their healthcare wishes if the individual loses the capacity to make decisions.
- A durable power of attorney for healthcare: a document in which an individual designates another individual to represent them if the individual loses the capacity to make decisions.
- A combination of a living will and a durable power of attorney
You can modify your advance directive or revoke it at any time while you still have the physical capacity to do so. As far as durable powers of attorney, you must specifically name the designated decision-makers when you cannot make decisions for yourself.
The state of New Jersey provides guidance on advance directives, and if you need further assistance or have more complex questions, some attorneys specialize in this area of law. It is important to note that no matter what type of advance directive you choose, you may want to ensure you make plans sooner rather than later.
Remember to discuss your plans, especially those specified in your advance healthcare directive, with your family and your designated decision-makers. Also, ensure that the individuals you choose to make decisions for you are people who will respect your wishes and have what it takes to advocate for you when you are unable to advocate for yourself.