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What Is an Advance Directive, and Why Should You Have One?

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What Is an Advance Directive, and Why Should You Have One?

It's never too late or too early in life to get legal and financial affairs in order, and if you don't yet have an advance directive, you may want to consider if you think this form is the right step for you.

We've covered some basics of the advance directive below, but remember to speak with your own legal professional before making any type of commitment or legal step you aren't fully comfortable with.

What Is an Advance Directive?

An advance directive is a legal form that lets you lay out in writing certain steps that you want taken — or not taken — with regard to your end-of-life care.

It might sound like a frightening or depressing topic, but in reality, making these decisions for yourself and enforcing them with a legal document can be empowering and freeing, bringing you peace of mind and the ability to enjoy life at Autumn View Gardens. An advance directive lets you:

  • Make and communicate your own healthcare decisions, even at a time when you may not be able to do so verbally
  • Ensure your wishes are known and followed through
  • Remove the burden of making these decisions at the time of need from your loved ones

What Goes In an Advance Directive?

The format and contents of an advance directive vary by state. The Missouri Advance Directive Form has four parts, some of which are optional.

  • Part I lets you identify an agent who you want to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.
  • Part II lets you direct healthcare providers to withdraw or withhold certain life-prolonging procedures in the event there is no reasonable hope that you will recover from a chronic or persistently unconscious state. The Missouri Advance Directive lets you choose for some medical care to be withheld while allowing other forms to continue and provide specific details about what you want via a written text. Part II also lets you consent or refuse to take part in organ donation.
  • Part III simply provides some explanations on how the agent named in Part I might interact with the information you provide in Part II, if applicable.
  • Part IV is the execution — or signing — of the advance directive.

You can choose to complete Part I, Part II or both. To make the advance directive legally binding, you have to sign Part IV in front of two witnesses and a notary public.

You can find copies of the Missouri Advance Directive Form online through organizations such as AARP.

Who To Tell About Your Advance Directive

If you decide that an advance directive is right for you, don't keep the form secret. Keep the original, notarized copy in a safe place, and consider providing copies to the person you name as agent, a trusted friend or family member, your lawyer (if applicable), clergy and your healthcare provider. You can provide a copy to the Autumn View Gardens staff as well.

Remember that planning for the future doesn't have to be depressing. Making decisions now that you feel are right for you can be uplifting and help you enjoy life in your Ellisville assisted living community to the fullest.