Your health care directive gives advice on what you want to see happen if you can’t make medical decisions for yourself. Two kinds of health care directives are durable powers of attorney and living wills.

There are a lot of myths that surround the use of these directives. It’s smart to know what is or is not true, so you can make good decisions about your future health care needs. You may want to talk to your attorney about some or all of the following myths.

If you have a living will, you can ask for treatments to stop

That’s not totally true. The real truth is that if a treatment isn’t working or helping you, the medical providers can decide to end that treatment. Usually, close family or friends will be asked about your wishes when possible. It’s better to have a durable power of attorney, so that person can make decisions that you already told them you’d like to make.

Doctors have to follow advance directives

That’s not completely accurate. Doctors are allowed to refuse your requests and wishes if you ask for medically inappropriate care or if they have objections of conscience. They do have an obligation to get you another health care provider at that point.

You only need an advance directive if you don’t want treatment

An advance directive can help helpful in talking about what you do and do not want.

Your attorney can help you look into health care directives and how to make sure your wishes are known if you’re unable to speak for yourself in the future due to illness or injury.

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