As you go through life, you develop opinions on the type of medical care you think is appropriate for you. Whether you never go to the doctor or keep regular appointments, you have wishes for the care you prefer to receive. But if you find yourself incapacitated and unable to communicate, how will you let your doctors and family know what you want?

While you may be in perfect health now, accidents or illnesses may prevent you from letting your loved ones know how to take care of you. To avoid this situation, you can create an advance directive. This document lets medical professionals know which treatments they can and cannot do for you. Below are a few benefits for you when you create an advance directive.

You decide the best care for you

One of the most significant benefits is that you can have a say in your medical treatment, even if your issue prevents you from speaking with your doctors. In the directive, you list out any possible medical situations that you have strong opinions on and explain your wishes. Even if your family or your doctors don’t agree with you, they must follow your instructions. You can avoid receiving treatment that you don’t agree with.

Your family doesn’t have to choose for you

Decisions for medical treatment can often be tough. If the person who needs care can’t speak, the person’s loved ones will consult with doctors, trying to choose what is best. If family members don’t agree, they may argue, delaying treatment and creating rifts.

By making the decisions beforehand, you prevent your family from going through this stressful process. You can take care of this lofty responsibility at an already worrying time.

You can answer the tough questions for lifesaving treatments

Advance directives can also contain wishes for end-of-life care. Many people have a family history or personal history of life-threatening conditions. These might include heart disease or a possibility of strokes. By addressing these issues in the document, they can explain their choices for receiving CPR or a ventilator if they have an attack. The directive can also include a do-not-resuscitate order, or DNR.

Depending on how you feel about lifesaving treatment, you can include instructions for how much action doctors should take.

A solid plan helps you and your family

Thinking about your medical future may feel awkward. You expect to live a long and healthy life. But by putting proper plans in place, you can ensure challenging decisions are made for you and your family.