Estate plans and other legal tools such as health care directives help you to plan for an uncertain future. No one knows what the future holds, so by planning for different possible outcomes, you can have peace of mind that your wishes will be followed and respected, no matter what.

So people decide to put in place a health care directive if they are diagnosed with a health condition or when they reach a certain age. A health care directive allows a person to specify their preferences regarding health care decisions in case they are unable to make their wishes known in the future. If you are considering putting a health care directive in place, the following is what you need to know.

You have the ability to address a number of eventualities

It may be that you are adamant about having a “do not resuscitate” preference in place, or that you do not want to be placed on life support for a prolonged period of time. Even if you are not currently suffering from any health condition, you can formally record the wishes that you have.

In most cases, health care directives must be followed

Medical care providers have a strict duty to respect and comply with health care directives since these directives are legal documents. If you appoint someone to take charge of your health care, their judgment should also be respected by doctors and other medical professionals.

There may be situations in which health care directives are not followed

All medical institutions have certain policies in place. If the health care directive goes against the hospital policy, the medical care provider may refuse to follow the directive. Similarly, a doctor may also refuse to follow a health care directive if the instructions go against their own conscience.

If you are starting to think about your future and how to make your health care preferences known, please look into your options regarding health care directives.