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Report: Most Americans Don’t Have Advance Directives

A new report from the University of Pennsylvania’s Palliative and Advanced Illness Research Center (published in the journal Health Affairs) indicates that roughly two-thirds of all American adults do not have any advance directives in place.

Advance directives outline a person’s wishes in the event of their incapacitation and inability to make their own healthcare choices, especially close to the end of their lives. Estate planning experts strongly recommend at least some form of written healthcare directives to provide instruction for one’s end-of-life care.

However, just as many Americans put off estate planning, it appears they do the same with advance directives. Rates of completion of directives are quite low and do not appear to be increasing, according to the leader of the study. The data included more than 795,000 Americans, just 29 percent of whom had completed a living will with specific end-of-life care instructions. About 33 percent had designated a person to serve as an agent through a healthcare power of attorney arrangement.

Perhaps more surprising was that only 38 percent of patients with chronic illnesses had completed advance directives. This was not much higher than the number of healthy adults (33 percent) who had. Of patients 65 and older, 46 percent had completed advance directives.

Advance directives ensure you get the care you desire

Having an advance directive in place protects you in the event of your incapacitation. It ensures you leave behind a clear set of instructions for your doctors and your healthcare agent. Otherwise, these individuals would be left to question the type of care you would want to receive.

For further guidance on creating sound healthcare directives that protect your wishes, consult a dedicated Florida estate planning attorney with The Charles Law Offices.

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