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Don’t forget about mental health when making advance directives

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2022 | Estate Planning

Have you ever heard the terms advance medical directives or advance health care directives? These two estate planning terms mean the same thing—they allow you to make plans for your future medical care needs.

If you become incapacitated or cannot speak your wishes aloud, these directives inform physicians of the treatments you want and do not want to receive. They have an invaluable place in all estate plans.

Planning for your future mental health needs

Residents of Charlotte, North Carolina, have the option to create advance mental health directives—also known as psychiatric directives—in addition to other health care instructions. Adding such a document to your estate plan empowers you to retain control of your care if you suffer from mental health issues in the future.

Other benefits of advance mental health directives include:

  • Promotes liberty and preserves the right to self-direct your treatment
  • Improves communication between you, your family and your mental health care providers
  • Helps to ensure you do not undergo mental health treatments you wish to avoid
  • Protects you from unwanted interventions like the use of restraints or seclusion from others

An advance psychiatric directive also allows you to select a trusted individual to speak for you if a mental issue interferes with your patient-doctor communications. Providers have a legal responsibility to abide by the contents of patient directives. If the provider cannot or will not follow written instructions, they must refer you to a provider that can comply.

Advance directives addressing your future physical and mental health care needs can give you and your family peace of mind. Learning more about how you can add these directives to your existing estate plan can also help.

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