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Two-thirds of Americans do not have health care directives

A study performed in 2017 revealed that about two-thirds of Americans are missing an important estate planning document. Georgia residents may be interested in learning about a health care directive and why it is so important that individuals have one.

It is common for this legal document to be called a living will or a medical directive. No matter what it is called, the purpose is to give guidance and direction on decisions a person would like to be made regarding their end-of-life medical care and death.

Wills and trusts are legal documents that indicate how a person would like their assets to be cared for upon their death. These documents have been around for hundreds of years. Health care directives are relatively new. While some states passed laws for their use in the '70s and '80s, it wasn't until the early '90s that all 50 states had laws that permitted health care directives.

The fact that healthcare directives are accepted in every state shows their importance in the modern world. Also, legal and medical professionals advocate for them. These documents give a person control when they are impaired and over their death.

An individual will need to choose an agent who will make decisions on their behalf. It is important for a person to pick someone who shares their values. The agent should understand the type of treatments that an individual will accept and the type of end-of-life care they would like to have. The role as an agent will continue after the person dies in order to be sure that all their wishes are carried out.

A health care directive gives a person a clear voice in decision making when it comes to medical decisions and funeral procedures. A lawyer may help an individual fill out a health care directive and answer questions that pertain to estate planning.

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