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Adults should start thinking about their medical wishes as soon as they reach the age of 18. Most people think that medical directives are only for the elderly, the disabled or the very sick. However, anyone who is at least 18 years old needs to have at least a living will and possibly a power of attorney for medical issues.

In Maryland and elsewhere in the United States, those who are over 18 and single generally believe that their parents can still make medical decisions for them. This is not always true even in cases of sudden incapacitation in most states. Parents of adult children cannot always assume they can make decisions for them, and, with the prevalence of automobile accidents, the need for someone to make important decisions arises more often than most realize.

A living will spells out people's wishes for their medical care. It will include the lifesaving procedures people want to be administered and their preferences for end-of-life procedures. They may also wish to have a power of attorney for medical care, so loved ones they trust can make decisions for their medical care in cases in which they are unable.

Although the creation of these directives may seem simple, they are legal documents that must adhere to the laws in place in a person's state of residence. Residents of Maryland may find it beneficial to seek the assistance of an experienced estate planning professional when drafting living wills and medical powers of attorney. By having documents in place that are legally sound, people can rest assured that their wishes will be followed.

Source: wusa9.com, "Why You Need Medical Directives", Shirley Rooker, May 29, 2015

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